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Iran Press TV

Belarus president calls security top priority

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 12 August 2020 5:21 PM

Belarus' president calls maintaining security nationwide the country's top priority, saying those rioting across the country under the guise of contesting recent elections are mostly people with criminal records.

Alexander Lukashenko made the remarks during a meeting in the capital Minsk on Wednesday. He was reacting to the widespread rioting that has followed Sunday's presidential elections, in which he won by a landslide, Reuters reported.

"It's clear from the situation that the most important tasks government organizations face, in particular the Security Council, are the provision of security for our citizens, protection of the constitutional order, and ensuring that state management organizations function correctly," he said.

"The core of all these so-called protesters today comprises people with a criminal history and the unemployed," he noted.

"If you don't have work, then wander along the roads and streets guys. Therefore, I politely ask and warn everyone to find work, those that are unemployed," the head of state noted.

The European Union and the US have long been accusing Lukashenko of towing a chequered human rights record.

The EU used the allegations to impose sanctions on the now-65-year-old but lifted them in 2016.

Now, Brussels and Washington have started using the violence and Minsk's anti-rioting measures as a pretext to bring fresh accusations against the country.

The EU will meet on Friday to weigh fresh sanctions against the country, while US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during recent apparently interventionist remarks that Belarusians should be given "the freedoms that they are demanding."

Lukashenko's rival in the vote, 37-year-old Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, took a trip to neighboring Lithuania after the vote, citing "safety" concerns. The development has further emboldened those used to criticizing the country for various excuses.

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