Meeting in support of opposition in Belarus staged in Prague

Prague, Jan 29 (CTK) - Some 20 people took part in a demonstration in support of pro-democratic opposition forces in Belarus that was staged in Prague centre Saturday.

The demonstrators, mainly Belarusian speaking, demanded that political prisoners be released and repressions against the government opponents be lifted.

They carried a banner with the English inscription "Stop Terror in Belarus" and flags. One of them featured the inscription "Belarus" placed in the middle of the EU emblem.

Saturday's meeting on Old-Town Square was to express support for the opposition to the authoritarian regime of Belarusian President Alexandr Lukashenko. The demonstrators tried to remind of the difficult political situation in Belarus.

Several dozen people, mostly foreign tourists, watched the meeting.

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg sharply criticised Lukashenko's regime this week. It is a pure dictatorship that must not be tolerated, he said.

The Senate, the upper house of Czech parliament, at the same time condemned the Belarusian regime's repressions against Lukashenko's opponents after the presidential elections last December. Hundreds of people, including Lukashenko's rival candidates, were arrested during the protests.

Czech diplomacy headed by Schwarzenberg wants to push through strict measures in the EU to be taken against supreme representatives of the Belarussian regime.

On the contrary, the EU is not considering economic sanctions against Belarus since they would rather afflict the country's citizens.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon on Thursday confirmed that the United States and the EU are preparing a number of sanctions against Lukashenko's regime. They are to be jointly declared on Monday.

Lukashenko, who has been the Belarussian head of state for 16 years, was re-elected president again last December, receiving almost 80 percent of the vote.

Belarussian opposition criticised the elections.

Protests against the elections were suppressed and over 30 opposition leaders face trial. If found guilty, they face up to 15 years in prison.

The United States and the EU condemned the use of force against the opposition after the presidential polls.


Partners: Social Network