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April 12, 2011

Eleven dead after Belarus subway bombing

Eleven dead after Belarus subway bombing

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

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File photo of Oktyabrskaya station
Image: Redline.

Eleven people are reported dead and more than a hundred injured after a bomb went off in a Minsk Metro station in Minsk, Belarus on Monday evening.

According to witnesses, the explosion happened just after a train entered the Oktyabrskaya station at about 1755 local time (1555 UTC). The explosion reportedly damaged the station, with a section of the ceiling having collapsed.

One witness said: “People are being treated on the spot, some are being taken away, some—those who are conscious and in a more or less normal state—are being helped into ambulances.”

A police spokesperson said security forces were placed in a state of “heightened alert” after the incident, and the area around the station was closed. President Alexander Lukashenko said police forces are to “turn the country upside down” to determine who was responsible.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear, though police are saying that terrorist activity was responsible. “We must find out who gained by undermining peace and stability in the country, who stands behind this,” Lukashenko said. “Who did not like the stability in Belarus?”



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December 30, 2010

Sergei Sidorsky replaced as Belarusian prime minister

Sergei Sidorsky replaced as Belarusian prime minister

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

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The current President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, replaced his Prime Minister

Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky has been sacked by President Alexander Lukashenko after a cabinet reshuffle following last week’s disputed Presidential election. His successor is Mikhail Myasnikovich, a former Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus back in the 1990s.

Sidorsky was the Prime Minister of Belarus since July of 2003 when he was appointed by President Lukashenko. He is Belarus’ longest serving Prime Minister, having served over seven years. Before that he was Deputy Prime Minister from 2001 to 2002.

This comes a week after the Presidential election which saw the re-election of the incumbent Alexander Lukashenko who has ruled Belarus since the establishment of the office in 1994. Foreign observers called the election, “fraudulent” and “unfair”. Following the elections, an estimated 600 people were detained by the government, including 11 Russian nationals.



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March 26, 2006

European Union demands release of Belarusian opposition leader

European Union demands release of Belarusian opposition leader

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Belarus.

The European Union (EU) has demanded the release of Alexandr Kozulin, a Belarusian opposition leader arrested during a protest rally in Minsk. Kozulin was one of the leaders in a series of rolling protests against the recent election victory of President Alexander Lukashenko.

The EU president is “appalled by the violence used against demonstrators by the Belarusian authorities,” it said in a statement. “It expresses serious concern about the arrest of demonstrators and members of the democratic opposition, including presidential candidate Alexander Kozulin, and demands their immediate release,” the statement said.

Reports indicate that the streets of Minsk have settled to a “peaceful standstill” on Sunday, after riot police moved in to break up a protest rally – a day after reports that police brutally dispersed large crowds in the capital. Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. During a rally on Saturday, Alexander Kozulin was “pulled out of a car by police and taken away.”

Kozulin’s spokeswoman Nina Shedlovskaya said he had been beaten by police. On Sunday, Kozulin’s wife, Irina, described his condition was “OK.” “The rescue squad wasn’t called for him,” she told the Associated Press. Also Sunday, about 80 pro-Lukashenko youth activists picketed the U.S. Embassy in Minsk, shouting “Hands off Belarus.” Russian news agencies report that the Polish Embassy was also picketed.

Kozulin was detained as protesters marched on a jail holding others detained during what is being called “the biggest protests in Belarus for ten years.” Belarus Independent Media Centre reports that the “arrest of 460 people in the protest tent camp on Friday morning had provoked the population and strengthened the general protest mood in Belarus.”

The Belarus IMC report says: “More than 5000 people gathered on Saturday in the centre of Minsk for the demonstration which had been announced. Authorities opposed the protest with all available police forces, special services and the army.”

Demonstrators demand a repeat of last week’s election poll. Mr Lukashenko, President of Belarus since 1994, has been widely accused of pursuing “Soviet-style policies, closing down the media and cracking down on rivals.” President Lukashenko contends the United States and Western European countries are giving financial and moral support to the opposition group.

EU Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner also demanded that Belarus release members of the opposition. “I urge the Belarussian government to adhere to the rules of democracy,” Ferrero-Waldner was quoted as saying. “If the Belarussian government does not show remorse, visa bans will probably be sharpened. In concrete terms, that means that those responsible will not be able to travel to EU member states. Foreign assets of Belarussian lawmakers could also be frozen. It’s important that sanctions do not hurt the people.”

Alexander Milinkevich, Belarus’s main opposition leader, praised Belarussians who have been protesting since the election. However he acknowledged that their numbers were not enough to defeat Lukashenko’s government.

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  • Belarus IMC” — Belarus Independent Media Centre, March 25, 2006
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March 25, 2006

Riot police arrest Belarusian opposition leader Kozulin

Riot police arrest Belarusian opposition leader Kozulin

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

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Presidential candidate Aleksandr Kozulin, leader of the Belarusian opposition against President Alexander Lukashenko, has been arrested by Belarusian police, according to witness reports at a march. The march was being held to protest the arrests of 200 fellow demonstrators who are being held at a detention center in the area. Witnesses stated that Kozulin was pulled out of a crowd of protestors and arressted by riot police at the scene.

Interfax news agency stated that Aleksandr Milinkevitch was also arrested. Sergei Voznyak, a press secretary for Milinkevitch, has since stated, “A few minutes ago I spoke to Milinkevich’s aides. He has not been arrested and is in safety.” He also commented that the personal spokesman for Milinkevitch, Pavel Mazheiko, had been arrested.

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March 20, 2006

Lukashenko wins disputed Belarus elections

Lukashenko wins disputed Belarus elections

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Belarus

It appears that Alexander Lukashenko, 51, has won the 2006 Belarus presidential election, and is heading for his third term in office. The official preliminary results are 82.6 percent for Lukashenko and six percent for the main opposition candidate Alexander Milinkevich, says the BBC. The turnout for the elections was 92.6 percent of Belarus’ seven million eligible voters. The final results will be available Monday morning.

Before the elections, the opposition candidates accused Lukashenko of plans for rigging the elections. Several opposition newspapers were closed down and journalists were arrested some weeks before the elections. Many foreign observers, including the Polish, Finnish and Danish delegations, were refused entry into the country before the elections.

Approximately 10 000 supporters of Milinkevich gathered in Oktyabrskaya Square in Belarus’ capital, Minsk. According to the BBC, they shouted anti-Lukashenko slogans and waved flags that are banned under Lukashenko’s regime. The protests have not involved violence so far.

Lukashenko previously warned people against the start of uprisings similar to recent ones witnessed in the Ukraine and Georgia. He said that people attempting to stage a coup will be treated as terrorists and will be executed. The European Union and the United States have expressed their concerns over allegedly authoritarian rule in Belarus. The EU is planning to deny visas to Belarusian officials with alleged involvement in election rigging, as a response to the denial by Belarus of entry into the country to EU election observers.

Milinkevich demands new elections. According to the BBC, he said, “We demand new, honest elections. This was a complete farce…. We will demand that this election be recognized as invalid, including by international organisations,” Milinkevich said, according to the AFP.

Milinkevich notes that the opposition candidates were restricted from the media, and opposition supporters were arrested. Lukashenko, in contrast, has control over Belarus’ propaganda machine, including state television. According to the AFP, opposition candidate Milinkevich received in total one hour of TV air time for his campaign. Belarus officials reject his demands, and insist the elections were free and honest.

Lukashenko denied being a dictator, saying “… it’s impossible to have a dictator in Europe. Only stupid people would think that.” He said the U.S. president George W. Bush is more of a dictator than he himself is.

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August 1, 2005

Poland accuses Belarus of human rights violations

Poland accuses Belarus of human rights violations

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Monday, August 1, 2005

Belarus borders with Russia, Ukraine and 3 EU members: Latvia, Lithuania and Poland

Poland has called for the EU to assist curtailing what it has called human rights abuses in Belarus. Belarusian papers describe this as a ‘dirty political game’, and part of a ‘cold war’ waged on president Alexander Lukashenko.

The Belarusian Riot police with guns and dogs seized the headquarters of the Union of Poles in Belarus, an association representing the 400 thousand ethnic minority Polish people living in western areas of Belarus that were part of Poland until World War II.

Earlier this year, Amnesty International reported a “pattern of deliberate obstruction, harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders” in Belarus. Reporters Without Borders recently accused the Belarusian authorities of hounding and arresting journalists from the country’s Polish minority. Lukashenko has recently closed the country’s main Polish newspaper, printing a bogus paper instead with the same name that praised his regime. Lukashenko accused Poland of an attempt to overthrow his regime by stirring up a peaceful revolution in Belarus like the “orange revolution” in [[Ukraine last year.

The dispute between Poland and Belarus escalated further as Poland responded by recalling its ambassador from Belarus for indefinite consultations and called on the European Union to impose sanctions on the Belarusian leadership.

Polish Foreign Minister Adam Rotfeld said a clampdown is under way, aimed at destroying “all elements of political pluralism and independence” in Belarus. France expressed her solidarity with Poland on the issue of human rights in Belarus a day after the EU said it was worried about the situation in the country.

The European Union will finance radio and TV programs to be broadcasted to Belarus.

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June 28, 2005

Lukashenko accuses foreign donators of ideological expansion

Lukashenko accuses foreign donators of ideological expansion

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Alexander Lukashenko

The President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, accused foreign funds and donators of ideological expansion in Belarus during his meeting with talented youth today.

“In recent years, activities of foreign donators, who were carrying out ideological expansion on Belarus disguised as humanitarian aid, and really stealing State’s intellectual possession, was curbed,” Lukashenko said.

Students, which Lukashenko met, were receivers of Belarusian presidential stipendies. He said, that the idea of domestic funds was created “in uneasy times” to keep talented students in Belarus.

Lukashenko requested last year that each trip abroad for sake of education be limited.

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