Gustaf Göthberg is an everyday local politician in Gothenburg and the first deputy in the EU Parliament for the Moderates. However, he traveled to Minsk as a private person to support friends who are part of the Belarusian opposition.
- I probably would not have been able to see myself in the mirror if I had been sitting at an outdoor restaurant in Gothenburg when you know what is happening there, he says.
But the commitment to Belarus has been there for a long time. The proximity to Sweden makes it impossible to turn a blind eye to what is happening in what is often called Europe's last dictatorship, says Göthberg.Disrupted "public order"
He describes the days before the election as relatively calm, apart from the arrest of two of his friends who are opposition activists.
But on election day on August 9, in connection with him standing and filming outside a polling station, he got to know the Belarusian law enforcement.
- I engaged in "disturbing public order" claimed the policeman and deleted the pictures.
The penalty was a few hours in custody and a few hundred rubles in fines.
However, the experience in the detention is overshadowed by the images he was met with after being released, he says. He saw people gathering in the streets waving the forbidden old Belarusian flag, howling car horns and applause.Lukashenko's time counted
The opposition's courage to defy the dictatorship's hard pressure bodes well, according to Göthberg.
- There is no military that can shoot dead hundreds of people's desire for freedom and no dictator who stands over it either.
But given the developments since then, with violent clashes between protesters and security forces, he is worried about what will happen now.
- In the short term, I think it will be bloody, if the EU does not mark. In the long term, recent days have shown that there is a whole generation of young Belarusians who identify as Europeans and who have not been politically active before. Lukashenko has time against him.