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Lukashenka Vows Not To Hand Over Power, Slams Protesters

By RFE/RL November 13, 2020

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has vowed not to hand over power to anyone amid ongoing mass protests demanding his resignation.

Speaking to journalists on November 13, Lukashenka also slammed his political opponents and those demonstrating against his reelection as president, and said his country should integrate with Russia and Moscow-led organizations to avoid what he called "color revolutions" -- a term often used to describe pro-Western political upheavals.

"No power transfer! No successors. Whoever is elected by the people must stay [in power]. I have sworn, I have promised that everything will proceed the way the Belarusian people choose," Lukashenka told the Belarusian, Kazakh, Russian, and Ukrainian journalists.

Lukashenka also said that the demonstrators who have rallied across the country since the August 9 election to protest the official results that named Lukashenka the winner, have planned a color revolution.

"Any color revolution makes any nation weaker and the people poorer. Nowhere after such mutinies have people started living better. The best remedy for this evil is also well-known, and that is the widening and deepening of our ties, of what is today called integration," Lukashenka said. "In all forms -- bilateral, within the Eurasian Economic Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States, [and the] Common Security Treaty Organization."

Lukashenka also accused the protesters of planning to usher in the influence of Western countries, which he suggested was intended to cause problems with Russia.

"Russia understands perfectly well that God forbids the loss of Belarus. If Belarus is lost [for Russia]...you know whose missiles of small and medium range will be placed near [the Russian city of] Smolensk [near the Belarusian border]," Lukashenka said without offering evidence.

If the protesters had managed to gain power, he alleged, "they would have turned to the West and it brings troops at the request of the so-called legitimate government. That is their scenario."

Lukashenka's statements came as the European Union again condemned violent crackdowns against Belarusian protesters and threatened to impose more sanctions on Minsk following the death of a 31-year-old Belarusian man who is believed to have been badly beaten by masked security forces.

Lukashenka, who has ruled Belarus for 26 years, has faced almost daily protests calling for his resignation since a presidential election on August 9 that the opposition says was rigged and which the West has refused to accept.

Russia, meanwhile, has supported Lukashenka in the ongoing stand-off.

Several protesters have been killed and thousands of people arrested since authorities declared Lukashenka the landslide winner of the vote.

There have also been credible reports of torture during a widening security crackdown.

Most of the country's opposition leaders have been arrested or forced to leave the country, including opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

With reporting by BelTA, Interfax, and TASS

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/lukashenka- vows-not-to-hand-over-power-slams- protesters/30949039.html

Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.



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