EU too slow to adequately help Belarus, Tikhanovskaya says

Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said in an interview published on Monday that the EU has been too slow and indecisive to adequately help Belarus, dpa reported.

"As for the European Union, this is our pain. It seems everything is being done too slowly. I would like it faster. But just try to move such a colossus," Tikhanovskaya told Belarusian independent news outlet Tut.by.

Tikhanovskaya, 38, fled to neighbouring Lithuania after officially placing second in a disputed presidential election that the galvanized opposition claims was rigged, in favour of long-time authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.

There have been mass protests in Minsk every weekend since the August 9 election. The United Nations has estimated that about 27,000 protesters have been detained.

The EU has denounced the election as "neither free nor fair" and refused to recognize Lukashenko as the current president.

Tikhanovskaya believes that the EU must do more to help the opposition movement, particularly by imposing more economic sanctions to pressure Lukashenko to step down. "We are no longer asking, we are demanding economic sanctions because we understand how many people are suffering for nothing," Tikhanovskaya said in the interview.

The United Nations' human rights commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, said last week that she had been alarmed by thousands of allegations of police violence against detained protesters in Belarus.

The Belarusian human rights group Viasna, which independently monitors the protests, reported that more than 300 people were detained at rallies on Sunday.

 

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