Belarus Prez: A Powerful Neighbor Is Ready to Help Us

Alexander Lukashenko is facing the biggest anti-government movement since he took power
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 15, 2020 2:10 PM CDT
Belarus Prez: A Powerful Neighbor Is Ready to Help Us
People gather at the farewell hall during the funeral of Alexander Taraikovsky who died amid clashes protesting the election results, in Minsk, Belarus, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020.   (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Vladimir Putin has agreed to provide protest-engulfed Belarus with security assistance to counter protests if the country requests it, the president of Belarus declared Saturday after more people took to the streets demanding that he resign, the AP reports. President Alexander Lukashenko made the comment on Saturday evening, several hours after a phone call with Putin and after protesters again demanded that he resign after 26 years in power. Thousands of demonstrators rallied Saturday at the spot in the capital of Minsk where a protester died this week in clashes with police. Some stripped off their shirts to display deep bruises they said came from being beaten by police.

It was the seventh consecutive day of large protests against the results of the Aug. 9 presidential election in which election officials said Lukashenko won a sixth term in office in a landslide. Opposition supporters believe the figures have been manipulated. Luksahenko did not specify what sort of assistance Russia would be willing to provide. But he said that "when it comes to the military component, we have an agreement with the Russian Federation" in the framework of the countries' union agreement. "These are the moments that fit this agreement." Despite harsh police crackdowns against the protesters, including the detention of some 7,000 people, the demonstrations have swelled into the largest and most sustained anti-government movement since Lukashenko took power in 1994.

(More Belarus stories.)

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