Brussels is calling for the immediate release of an opposition leader arrested in Belarus. Austria, the current president of the European Union, says it is “seriously concerned about the arrest of demonstrators and opposition supporters, including presidential candidate Alexander Kozulin”. It also says it is “appalled by the violence used against those demonstrating“yesterday against the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko.
Kozulin and the other main opposition leader, Alexander Milinkevich, have been leading days of rallies. Outside a main jail in the capital, relatives have been trying to get information about the dozens of people arrested. “We tried to send in a food parcel and called them here, and very nice people told us everything was all right and we could bring food,” said one woman. “We arrived here and then they said ‘no, we’ve got an order not to accept anything’.” One man said: “How can I be positive about this? It’s dictatorship. It’s dictatorship.” Authorities have denied claims by some international observers that the recent vote was neither free nor fair.