Belarus has seen its fair share of demonstrations since elections earlier this month but this time it was supporters of President Alexander Lukashenko who were making their voices heard. Some 50 people gathered outside the Lithuanian embassy in Minsk to protest against what they see as Europe’s interference in Belarussian affairs. Meanwhile opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich recognises the need to increase his support base.
He said: “I look at this as a fortress and we have made holes, cracks in this fortress. But if we hit it with our foreheads and our numbers are not great we may lose. That’s why we’re retreating but we are starting the siege of the fortress, namely an information attack. And there will be another attack but we shan’t wait five years for it.”
It is thought that around 700 people were arrested last week and at the weekend for protesting against an election they claimed was rigged. Courts have begun trying the activists, mainly young people who face up to 15 days in jail for taking part in unauthorised rallies. Among those detained was opposition presidential challenger Alexander Kozulin.
Milinkevich has pledged new rallies but divisions are apparent within the anti-Lukashenko movement, with the two main factions accusing each other of foolhardiness and cowardice.