Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the formally defeated rival of long-time Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in the latest elections, has declared a "people's ultimatum" to the regime.
Addressing Lukashenko via her official Telegram channel, Tikhanovskaya put forward demands for his resignation and an end to violent crackdowns against protesters.
The regime has 13 days to fulfill three demands, Tikhanovskaya says:
- Lukashenko must resign.
- Street violence must be put to an end.
- All political prisoners must be released.
"If our demands are not met by October 25, the whole country will take to the streets for a peaceful rally with the People's Ultimatum. And on October 26, a nationwide strike will begin, all roads will be blocked, sales in state-owned stores will collapse. You have 13 days to fulfill three conditions. We have 13 days to prepare, and throughout this time the Belarusians will continue their peaceful and persistent protest," Tikhanovskaya said.
Read alsoFM Kuleba explains how Ukraine intends to formally refer to LukashenkoThe opposition has also called on government officials to publicly cease further support for the regime.
Elections and protests in Belarus: Background
On August 9, presidential elections were held in Belarus. According to the CEC's official data, 80.1% of voters backed Alexander Lukashenko, and 10.1% – his main opponent Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
Following the announcement of the election outcome, protests swept across the country. Security officials have been detaining and using force against protesters, opening politically charged cases against opposition figures. Hundreds have been injured, with a few lethal incidents reported.
The European Union has not recognized election results and decided to impose sanctions on Belarusian officials responsible for rigging the vote and violently cracking down on protesters.
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a statement on Belarus. The MPs branded the elections unfair, condemned repression, and supported EU sanctions against Belarusian officials.
Lukashenko on September 23 secretly sworn in a ceremony held behind closed doors in Minsk.
Large-scale rallies are held against Lukashenko in Minsk every weekend.