A "peaceful revolution" is underway in Belarus, assures opponent Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa
The Belarusian opponent was on a videoconference from Vilnius, Lithuania, for a meeting organized by the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee. WALSCHAERTS / AFP
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“It is a peaceful revolution that is underway, not a geopolitical revolution. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya spoke on Tuesday by videoconference live from Vilnius, Lithuania, at an extraordinary meeting organized by the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee.
With our correspondent in Brussels , Joana Hostein
Light blue shirt, hair falling over his shoulders, his face closed. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya reads her message to MEPs by videoconference.
“ Belarus is waking up. We organized the biggest demonstration in the country's history on Sunday. We are no longer in opposition, we are the majority, she said. It is not an anti or pro-Russian protest, nor an anti or pro-European revolution. We just want to freely decide our destiny. "
Speaking in English, Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa appeared in the European hemicycle by video, from a kitchen. She described the August 23 demonstration in Minsk as " the biggest in Belarusian history ", claiming that the " attempts at violent repression " had " not deterred, but only strengthened the nation's resolve " .
The opponent ready to negotiate with the authorities
The unprecedented protest movement against Alexander Lukashenko, in power since 1994, is entering its third week in Belarus. If the number of demonstrators does not seem to be weakening, the Head of State has increased the number of martial declarations and staging, coupled with increased repression.
" Our demands are simple : free and fair elections ," repeated the Belarusian opponent who said she was ready to negotiate with the authorities and to consider the mediation of international organizations, while asking for respect for "the sovereignty of Belarus ”.
MEPs warmly applauded her. They hailed, for some, " a declaration worthy of a statesman ". Many others praised his courage and determination. The parliamentarians also called for the immediate release of political prisoners and specifically of the members of the Coordination Council arrested in recent days.
Rejection of results
The European Union rejected the results of the presidential election and said it was " alongside " the Belarusians . The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, has promised additional sanctions against a " substantial " number of power leaders responsible for " violence, repression and electoral fraud ".
European leaders also urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to put pressure on Alexander Lukashenko, of whom he is a key ally, in order to foster dialogue with the opposition. But the Kremlin believes that the political crisis in its Belarusian neighbor is an " internal affair " and condemns " foreign attempts at interference ".
The number 2 of the US State Department, Stephen Biegun, met on Tuesday the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, after having met Tuesday in Vilnius with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, whom he considered " very impressive ".
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