Belarussians are to elect a president Sunday in a race western governments and human rights groups say is flawed due to wide-scale harassment of opposition activists and an almost total lack of free media. Incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko is widely expected to win a third term. He faces three other candidates, including the leader of a now unified political opposition.
Ukraine Foreign Ministry urges Belarusian authorities to render explanations on incident with the 5th Channel journalists, Vasyl Filipchuk Foreign Ministry spokesman told. As a reminder, despite the accreditation and valid permission, the 5th Channel journalist and cameraman were forbidden Belarus.
As tension mounts in Belarus three days before the 19 March presidential election, Reporters Without Borders today issued a report on the harassment of independent journalists by
President Alexander Lukashenko`s government apparatus, which is currently cracking down hard on Belarusian journalists, foreign correspondents and the regime`s political opponents.
The electoral campaign is carried out with mass violations of the law. This conclusion is made in the third report on elections observation, distributed by independent observers today. The report includes the period from February 11 to March 12 and contains infromation on election process developments in Maholyou, Homel, Vitsebsk and Minsk regions.
Slogan “We want the new!” sounds louder in Vitsebsk region. Hundreds of greaffiti and thousands of stickers with this slogan and with slogan “Fed up with him” appear daily in Vitsebsk, Polatsk and Novapolatsk. The stickers also appear in nearby villages.
Observers which were not allowed to enter Belarus, plan to spend the Election Day by the Belarusian border. On the voting day March 19 non-governmental organizations of Poland, Lithuania, and Ukraine are organizing an action “We Wait For Belarus In Europe”. Its participants would be first of all observers denied the Belarusian visas.
New graffiti “Fed Up With Him!” addressed to the Belarusian dictator appear in many Belarusian cities. At the same time activists of the Zubr resistance movement and the Young Front, other youth organizations demand “A New One!”
Today at one of the polling stations of Minsk an electioneering agent of the single democratic candidate Alyaksandr Milinkevich, Alyaksei Kavalets was denied information about the number of Minsk dwellers that had taken part in the early voting. Members of the election commission number 34 (Prylukskaya Street, 50) have advised the electioneering agent of the democratic candidate to address to the executive committee of Maskouski district of Minsk.
The head of Belarus` security service said Thursday he had evidence that the United States and Georgia were backing efforts to overthrow the country`s current regime by force in Sunday`s presidential elections.
International sanctions against the criminal regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka must be tightened, and Brussels should move forward a proposal Lukashenka’s International Court in the Hague. The Chairman of the European Parliament’s Commission on Ties with Belarus Bogdan Klich said so to the Polish newspaper “Rzecz Pospolita”.
On March 15 a newspaper of the presidential administration, the main government newspaper “Sovetskaya Belorussia” distributed a special free edition all over the country. The circulation of this propaganda material is 3 million copies. Citizens of Belarus are sick of lies of state-run newspapers, radio and TV, and they have found good application to the newspapers. The Charter’97 press center has received the following photos.
A press conference of the KGB chairman Stsyapan Sukharenka (Stepan Sukhorenko) and Prosecutor General Pyotr Miklashevich and Interior Minister Uladzimir Navumau (Vladimir Naumov) has taken place in the national press center. The press conference was dedicated to the presidential elections on March 19.
Another streamer with the words “Sasha [Alyaksandr], where is money?” was placed in the center of Minsk. Zubr activists placed a ten-metre streamer on the bridge over Nyamiha Street. Thousands of drivers, passengers of public transport and passes-by have become witnesses of the action. Young activists ask where money from arms deliveries to rogue countries is, and what the size of the so-called presidential fund is. Only Lukashenka’s wealth has grown for the last 12 years. Even officially his salary has increased 12 times, while common people’s salaries have grown only 3 times, according to official data.
The Leader of the United Civil Party, an agent of the single democratic candidate, Anatol Lyabedzka, was released yesterday. Even according to the official version, nothing criminal was found after the search in the garage of Anatol Lyabedzka. The politician was served a subpoena to police for March 21.
Is dictatorship still possible in 21st-century Europe? By any standards of decency or sanity, the question should be either rhetorical or so hypothetical as not to warrant serious attention. But, as the 10m citizens of the former Soviet republic of Belarus can testify, it is neither. This week`s elections there may determine whether Belarus formally accedes to the title of "last dictatorship in Europe" (bestowed upon it by Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state) or whether the last remnants of tyranny on the Continent are finally swept away.
A new US national security strategy which is to be issued today contains a list of seven countries called “despotic systems by Bush administration: Belarus, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Burma (also known as Myanmar) and Zimbabwe. It is stated by the Washington Post, which has received the copy of the 49-pages document earlier.
Several members of opposition presidential candidate Aleksandr Milinkevich`s campaign team in Brest were arrested on March 14, Anastasiya Ilina, an activist of the team, told reporters in Brest on Wednesday.
About 440 short-term observers representing the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) were expected to arrive in Belarus on Tuesday and Wednesday to monitor the ongoing presidential election.
nitiators of Days of Belarusian solidarity called upon citizens of Belarus to express solidarity by giving voice for the New President on March 19, 2006. «We call upon all the citizens of Belarus to show solidarity at polling stations, and to cast a vote for the New President of the country. We also support the idea to meet the results of voting together at October Square in Minsk on March 19, at 8 p.m., as is common in all democratic countries», -- initiators of Days of solidarity declare on web-page www.solidarity16.org.
One of the “Zubr” leaders Mikita Sasim is taken away from hospital #9 to Baranavichy. Yesterday at night the young man was operated on appendicitis and now any movement is prohibited for him. He spent the whole day yesterday manacled to the bed and guarded by policemen. Today in the morning people in muftis came into the ward and said they were to take him away to Baranavichy. They claimed the military committee was searching him. Last fall, however, the young man was granted a deferment because of the head trauma caused by OMON officers during a protest action.
The reaction of the doctors who did not show any sign of protest is surprising. Perhaps, the desire to please the people in muftis proved to be stronger that the Hippocratic oath.