U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his Czech Republic visit on Wednesday called on Belarus government to protect protesters and ensure more political freedom for the country's citizens.
The statement came during Pompeo's joint press conference with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš in Prague, The Wall Street Journal reports.
"We want the people in Belarus to have the freedoms that they're demanding," Pompeo said, adding that the presidential election in that country "wasn't held in a way that was free or fair."
The European Union is working on the response to repressions and arrests in Belarus following the presidential elections, that's per High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell.
"Following closely the developments and working on EU response and EU 27 declaration with Foreign Affairs Council Ministers," Borrell wrote on Twitter on August 11, 2020.
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Violent repression and arrests of peaceful protesters in Belarus will have to stop, the official stressed. "Belarusian people have [the] right to democracy and free and fair elections," Borrell tweeted.
Belarus protests: background
- On August 9, Belarus held a presidential election.
- The country's Central Election Commission announced exit poll results. Some 80.23% of voters supported incumbent Alexander Lukashenko, 9.9% voted for Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, 1.68% for Anna Kanopatskaya, 1.13% for Sergei Cherechnya, and 1.04% for Andrey Dmitriev. Some 6.02% voted against all candidates.
- On the evening of August 9, thousands took to the streets. Clashes with security officials ensued shortly. In Minsk, riot police fired rubber bullets in a crackdown on protests.
- Presidential candidate Tikhanovskaya refused to lead street protests and fled from Belarus. According to her press secretary, the politician would not want to end up behind bars like her husband, Sergei Tikhanovsky.
- Tikhanovskaya announced that she considers herself winner of the presidential election, and called on her rival, Alexander Lukashenko, to negotiate.
- Protests in Minsk and other Belarusian cities have been going since Sunday. Hundreds of casualties have been reported.
- Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed that one protester had died.