According to a message posted on the opponent’s Telegram account, it is about the OMON special forces and the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime within the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Minsk. The announcement was made by Tihanovskaia during a meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok.
“Since the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption under the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus and OMON have turned into criminal gangs, we are beginning the procedure of recognizing these organizations as extremist or terrorist,” said Svetlana Tihanovskaia. The opponent expressed her conviction that all employees of these structures who resign before the end of the investigation will be recognized as accomplices and will be subject only to sanctions and fines. “Only those security officials who will side with the people will be able to count on amnesty,” said the Belarusian opposition leader.
The protest movement against President Alexander Lukashenko, in power since 1994, has lasted for more than 100 days despite brutal police interventions, condemned by the European Union as an abuse of authority.
After the elections in Belarus, mass protests took place every weekend. According to the Belarusian human rights organization Viasna, at least 1,200 people were arrested during an opposition rally on Sunday, which was dispersed almost immediately by police using deafening grenades and tear gas.
“For 100 days we have felt that we are the people and the leaders of our country,” opposition leader Svetlana Tihanovskaia said in a statement. “I know for sure that after these events, the people of Belarus will never believe in Lukashenko again. Even if he can stay in power for another few months, he will live in a country where everyone hates him,” Tihanovskaia said.
Svetlana Tihanovskaya came in second in the August election, according to the disputed official results. She took refuge in neighboring Lithuania, a member of the EU, a few days after the vote, following pressure from the authorities.
Svetland Tihanovskaya’s supporters believe she is the real winner of the election.
Seven non-EU European countries have aligned themselves with sanctions imposed by the EU bloc on Belarus in response to brutal repression of pro-democracy protests following the August presidential election. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said yesterday that the seven countries included EU candidates, such as Northern Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania, as well as countries such as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Ukraine.
Alexander Lukashenka, declared the winner in an election considered by international observers to be fraudulent and unrecognized by the Western community, has faced almost daily protests demanding tens of thousands of people resign.
Several protesters have been killed, thousands have been arrested and there are credible reports of torture during the growing crackdown. Most opposition leaders were arrested or forced to flee Belarus, while dozens of reporters were detained, including colleagues in the Belarusian Free Europe Service. The EU has imposed sanctions on Lukashenka and more than 50 senior officials over their role in cracking down on protests and rigging elections. EU foreign ministers agreed on Thursday to extend the bloc’s sanctions to include “institutions, entrepreneurs and companies”.