Lukashenko starts new term in Belarus

MINSK, Belarus, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko began his fourth term Friday and boasted that his regime was immune to the revolution "virus."

Lukashenko, 56, was re-elected Dec. 19, with a claimed 80 percent of the vote in a 90 percent turnout. Hundreds of protesters were beaten and jailed when they rallied in Minsk, charging fraud.

Following his inauguration in the Palace of the Republic, Lukashenko said, "The color revolution virus affects only weak countries, Belarus does not have any breeding ground for this," RIA Novosti reported. He was referring to the color revolutions that toppled governments in Belarus's fellow former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan.

Revolutionary movements are sometimes referred to as color revolutions.

"If somebody has doubts about their choice, excuse my boasting, but I will say that your president is your president and he will never fail you," Lukashenko said.

The European Parliament Thursday approved immediate sanctions against Belarusian leaders for the repression of protests, and the United States endorsed the move.


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