Europe’s last dictator, Belarus’s Alexander Lukashenko, is on shoogly peg – Angus Roberston
Belarus is on the brink. People power is on the march as over 200,000 protestors took to the streets against the fraudulent re-election of Europe’s last dictator. Alexander Lukashenko has taken to carrying a semi-automatic rifle in fear of the unarmed protestors. This cannot go on for much longer.
After 26 years of authoritarian rule, Lukashenko is now rallying the army to crack down on pro-democracy demonstrators.
Two senior opposition figures have been arrested less than a day after the 200,000-strong rally. Olga Kovalkova and Sergei Dylevsky were taken into custody outside the Minsk Tractor Factory, where the workforce are striking against Lukashenko.
Meanwhile protests in Belarus have been joined in Lithuania, where people formed a human chain in solidarity with their regional neighbours.
Mr Lukashenko knows his rule is on a shoogly peg and has offered to hold new elections following a referendum on amending the constitution. Judging by the mood in Minsk and elsewhere, the public would like to him gone sooner.
A lot rests on Russia’s reaction, with Vladimir Putin fearing the loss of a key ally, but probably calculating it’s past the point of no-return. With protesters in Belarus appealing for a return to democracy rather than a re-orientation to the west, Russia should jump at the opportunity to do the right thing.
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