Belarusian President Lukashenko speaks with detained opposition members

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Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has Saturday, according to state news agency Belta talked to detained opposition members in the Secret Service prison. Much is still unclear about the exact cause and circumstances of the conversation. Lukashenko, also known as ‘the last dictator in Europe’, is said to have said to his political opponents that “the constitution cannot be written on the street”.

Almost the entire Belarusian opposition was arrested or fled

According to Belta, the conversation lasted 4.5 hours. The state news agency has only released a small portion of this conversation and says the details of the meeting will be kept confidential by the participants.

The released images show that Lukashenko is sitting around the table with eleven prisoners. Opposition candidate Viktor Babariko is also among the prisoners. He was arrested together with his son in early July.

Babariko’s spokesman, Gleb German, tells the news agency Reuters to believe in the authenticity of the images, but not to know the reason behind the conversation. “Everyone is still processing this information,” said the spokesman.

66-year-old Lukashenko has been in power in Belarus for over 26 years. On August 9, he again won the presidential election with more than 80 percent of the vote: a result that almost no one thinks can be correct.

Since the controversial election win, thousands of people have taken to the streets every day to demonstrate against Lukashenko. The demonstrations are often brutally crushed by the security forces. Thousands of demonstrators have already been arrested, including many (foreign) journalists.

Almost the entire Belarusian opposition has been arrested or fled from the Eastern European country.

Despite all the protests and the controversy surrounding the election win, Lukashenko was unexpectedly sworn in for his new term on September 23. The inauguration was not announced in advance due to the major unrest in the country.

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