Belarusian Ambassador to Slovakia Igor Leshchenya has expressed his support for protesters in an undated video published Saturday by Belarusian Nasha Niva media. “I stand in solidarity with those who came out on the streets of Belarusian cities with peaceful marches so that their voice could be heard,” Leshchenya said in the video. “The Belarusians have achieved this right through suffering.” People take part in an opposition demonstration to protest police violence and to reject the presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 14, 2020. The placard reads: “No to violence”.Belarusians have been protesting in the capital, Minsk, and other cities since election officials declared longtime authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko winner of the August 9 election, with over 80% of the votes against the main opposition candidate, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, with about 9.9%. Tsikhanouskaya has called for a “March of Freedom” through the center of Minsk, starting at 2 p.m., local time, Sunday. Thousands took to the streets of Minsk again Saturday, heeding Tsikhanouskaya’s call to supporters to rally over the weekend and press on with a movement that presents the biggest challenge to Lukashenko’s grip on power in 26 years, since 1994. Protesters also marched to the Belarusian state television center, complaining broadcasts are biased in favor Lukashenko and give a skewed image of the protests. About 100 staff members came out and joined the protest, saying they planned a strike Monday. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks at a meeting in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 14, 2020.Facing the biggest challenge to his rule under pressure to resign, Lukashenko called for help from Moscow in a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, describing the situation as “a threat not only to Belarus.”
Lukashenko told military chiefs later in the day that Putin had offered “comprehensive help” to “ensure the security of Belarus.” The Kremlin said in a statement that both presidents agreed the “problems” in Belarus would be “resolved soon” and the countries’ ties would strengthen.
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