Lithuania speaks out for Belarusian democracy

By TBT staff

Lithuania's opposition is urging Parliament to take a firm stand against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Rasa Jukneviciene, vice chairman of the Conservative Party, asked Parliament to state its position on the Belarusian administration's actions against opponents to Lukashenko in the upcoming elections.

Jukneviciene proposed a draft resolution, which would censure repressions aimed against the Belarusian opposition and express solidarity with politicians opting for the West.

"Having assessed the repressions committed by the Belarusian administration against opposition leaders and other candidates, Seimas (Lithuania's parliament) censures such actions and expresses solidarity with the people of the neighboring country, which strives for freedom and European democracy," reads the draft resolution.

Last week, Minsk police detained Alexander Kozulin, an opposition candidate running in the March 19 presidential elections. Kozulin represents the Social Democratic Party Hromada. Government security agents beat both Kozulin and members of his election team before arresting them. The candidate was released shortly after his detention.

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry censored the incident, along with Belarusian statements about internal coups organized by European countries, Lithuania included.

Last week, the Foreign Ministry expressed dismay to its Belarusian counterpart over the alleged coups, which they claim are invented untruths.

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry noted that the propaganda campaign, in which Lithuania had been mentioned several times, harmed bi-lateral relations between the neighbors.

Representatives of the Lukashenko administration have repeatedly accused EU and NATO countries, including Lithuania, of planning a coup against the Belarusian regime and inviting the opposition to join their rebellion.

Independent candidates Alexander Milinkevich and Kozulin should have the right to free press during the election campaign, Lithuania stated, adding that all citizens of Belarus deserve the right to freely express their position and will.

The local opposition and foreign democracies do not believe the elections, scheduled for March 19, will be free.