Two oppositional candidates for presidency in Belarus – Alyaksandr Milinkevich and Alyaksandr Kazulin offered to send A. Lukashenka to cosmos. Such an offer was made during the meeting with voters held yesterday in the cinema “Elektron”.
The results of the opinion poll carried out on the initiative of the newspaper “Kommersant” by Levada-Center, demonstrate that Russian citizens are following the developments in Belarus in the run-up to the presidential elections. 27% of respondents believe that Sunday’s election would be a fair competition of Lukashenka with opposition, while 40% of people think that they would be accompanied by mass rigging in favour of the imminent president.
Activists of Zubr, Young Front and other youth organizations are carrying out an active preparative work for March 19. Every day in different parts of Minsk handing out of newspapers with the call to come to the October Square on March 19 at 8 p.m. is carried out. Every day hundreds of new graffiti and thousands of stickers emerge on the streets.
Today, March 18, 2006, almost all subscribers of the company MCS (trademark VELCOM) have received sms-messages telling that provocations are being prepared on October Square on March 19. As representatives of law-enforcing agencies have informed, the phone number +375 29 6920027 of March 18 is registered as one of the number of the Belarusian Republican Youth Union.
Mass Media got a letter by a worker of the Machulischy aerodrome located close to Minsk. In the letter it is said that recently in the aerodrome helicopters with unknown cargoes have started to take off. Please, consider the full text of the letter.
Javier Solana, the European Union`s High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, has expressed "indignation and surprise" at the warning by the Belarusian foreign minister that all responsibility for the possible consequences of street protests on March 19 would rest with the opposition and the governments that support it.
“Such insinuations could have been invented only by Lukashenka’s wild fantasy. Certainly we do not bear any relation to these facts. After my visit to Belarus nothing could surprise me, but it’s not even funny. It reminds events in Ukraine before the Orange Revolution. All these provocations show the regime’s weakness and panics. I am sure that state officials, having seen this nonsense, would be musing who is the head of the state. And it would be the first step to the victory of democracy in Belarus,” Vladislav Kaskiv, the advisor of Ukrainian president, and leader of the electoral bloc PRP-PORA (Party Reform and Order- PORA) said, commenting on emerging of provocative leaflets on March 19 in Minsk.
March 18, starting from 4 p.m. Belarusian Internet-users can’t get to certain web sites, mostly with oppositional contents. This is how it works: trying to visit, for instance, the web site of democratic candidate for the Belarusian President’s post A.Milinkevich, users first wait for reply from the server, and finally get only the contents with the site’s title. Sometimes, when the site manages to “burst through” the block, the rest of the contents can be seen. Clients of different Belarusian Internet-providers face this problem. At the same time, sites are perfectly seen with a proxy-server and can be opened rather fats. Packets get through to servers easily with the tracert command. Belarusians observed similar “symptoms” during the referendum of 2004.
The White House accused the authoritarian president of Belarus yesterday of being "among the most corrupt leaders in the world," and administration officials said they will consider new sanctions assuming tomorrow`s elections are manipulated as expected.
Headquarters of Alyaksandr Milinkevich and Alyaksandr Kazulin sum up the losses – seized printed materials and the number of arrested activists. The matter concerns hundreds thousands copies of agitation materials and dozens of people who worked for the candidates or simply came to the meeting with the candidates and were arrested on the eve of the elections. However, the heads of the candidate’s headquarters note that the atmosphere that in the society afford ground for optimism.
US President George Bush passed the data on weapon sales, fortune and income of certain Belarusian highest-rank officials to the International Affairs Committee of Chamber of Representatives and Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs. The document is written in compliance with the “Act on democracy in Belarus” adopted by the US Congress in 2004. According to the “Act on democracy in Belarus”, the highest-rank officials of Belarus are: the President, Prime Minister, deputy prime ministers, governmental ministers, state committees heads and President’s administration officials. Moreover, the given category also includes “any officials of the Belarusian government who assist suppression of freedom in Belarus; judges and public prosecutors”.
According to some information received from Russian sources, it is known that the heads of the countries of the European Union managed to “lean on” Russian President. Vladimir Putin is assigned a mission to prevent suppression of peaceful protest in Belarus, using any leverage. Otherwise the presiding position of Russia in G8and the summit of 8 countries planned for July this year in St. Petersburg would be questionable. According to the information of the United Civil Party, a talk of Putin and Lukashenka took place yesterday.
In Poland and in other countries of the European Union political and civil actions are held in support of the Belarusian democracy and free elections. The heads of the parliamentary commissions on international affairs of nine European countries – Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Luxemburg, Malta, Moldova, Lithuania and Slovakia, have signed a joint statement, expressing deep concern over arrests of campaign agents of the oppositional candidates for presidency in Belarus.
According to information, received from Russian consulate in Minsk, four Russian journalists that have been detained in Homel today, will be deported to Russia today in the evening at 8 p.m.. The authorities do not explain the reasons for deportation, as the Russian citizens are not presented any charges, the UCP press service informs.
U.S. Helsinki Commission Chairman Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) today described Belarus’ election as a farce. “The detention of hundreds of opposition activists in advance of Sunday’s voting in Belarus has deprived opposition campaigns of their leaders, further contributing to a climate of fear in that country. Newspapers have been seized. An early voting system is in full force in which people are being pressured to vote for the regime. International observers are being detained, denied visas or turned away at the border. Belarus’ KGB chief is engaging in hysterical threats that protests will be viewed as ‘terrorism’ and Lukashenka is threatening to ‘break the neck’ of dissent. These are all indications of a regime terrified of its own people and that has no intention of conducting a free and fair vote,” concluded Chairman Brownback. “Once again, Lukashenka is taking no chances and tightening his grip as Europe’s last dictator.”
“We are to gather peacefully on March 19 at 8 p.m. on October Square in Minsk, because we want freedom, truth and justice. The authorities are terrified by their own people and are ready for provocations. But we warn that all provokators would be submitted to police. People would gather to the square with flowers and with hope. Officers of law-enforcing agencies are our sons and brothers, who are tried of 12 years of dictatorship and want to see Belarus a free and rich European country, and who would never be engaged in political surveillance and acts against their own people in a new Belarus,” has told the single democratic candidate for presidency Alyaksandr Milinkevich at a meeting with voters in Minsk today.