Belarus opposition leader urges European Union to be 'brave' on sanctions

Belarus opposition leader urges European Union to be 'brave' on sanctions”

In Belarus, more than 100,000 people marched through the capital of Minsk on Sunday during the sixth straight weekend of protests against President Alexander Lukashenko. "So, while not taking part in the main separate votes on this report, I voted in favour of the final text, as a gesture of solidarity with the Belarusian people in their fight for liberty", Sant said.

Several protesters were dragged away from the crowd by security forces. Police, however, said a total of over 20,000 people rallied in cities and towns all over the country.

When the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States met with Belarusian bishops at the apostolic nunciature in Minsk on September 12, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, president of the country's bishops' conference, was not present as he has been barred from entering the country by Belarusian authorities since August 31.

The former Soviet collective farm manager has been in power for 26 years and has shown little inclination to resign, buoyed by support from Russian Federation.

Cypriot foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides defended his country's stance, insisting the European Union must have a coherent response to violations of sovereignty and human rights.

They held placards with slogans such as "Cowards beat up women" and "Get out!".

The government has denied abusing detainees.

"Loyalty of the security forces is critical for Lukashenko's ability to hang on to power", Bialiatski said Monday. Their faces are often obscured by masks, balaclavas or riot helmets.

Some protesters have physically torn off the masks of officers.

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A statement distributed on Saturday evening (local time) by opposition news channel Nexta Live said the leaks were in retaliation to the arrests of street demonstrators against President Alexander Lukashenko. "No one will remain anonymous even under a balaclava".

Those protests have been brutally repressed - a recent strategy by Tsikhanouskaya's female supporters face off police, as the police have seemed reluctant to be as violent with women than they have been with male protesters. Some protesters who have been jailed say they have been beaten and tortured, claims the government denies.

The government said it would find and punish those behind the data leak.

"It is quite obvious, in fact, that such actions, if any, are an impudent and open interference in the internal affairs" of Belarus, Foreign Ministry spokesman Anatoly Glaz said on Saturday, as reported by the Sputnik news agency.

"EU leaders have reasons not to push sanctions but I asked them to be more fearless", Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who fled to Lithuania after the election, told reporters after meeting foreign ministers.

Russia's Foreign Ministry also weighed in, with spokeswoman Maria Zakharova saying that Moscow would consider such a decision by the European Union as "more evidence" that the European Union was departing from its "earlier statements about the absence of geopolitics" in the crisis.

The Ministry informs that the EU-initiated UN Human Rights Council resolution "The situation of human rights in Belarus in relation to the 2020 presidential election", co-sponsored by Ukraine, is expected to be approved as a result of the urgent debate.

Moscow agreed to give a $1.5 billion U.S. loan to prop up Lukashenko's government following a meeting between him and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Belarus will channel about $330 million of its new loan to cover its outstanding debt to Russian gas giant Gazprom GAZP.MM , Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov was quoted by TASS as saying.

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