EU condemns ‘wave of repression’ ahead of Belarus elections

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EU condemns ‘wave of repression’ ahead of Belarus elections

 

BRUSSELS

The EU yesterday slammed a recent series of raids and arrests targeting opponents of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko ahead of parliamentary elections next month.

“The European Union condemns in the strongest possible terms the recent wave of repression against former political prisoners remaining in Belarus, as well as relatives of political prisoners,” said the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell.

“The raids and searches by the regime’s security apparatus affected almost 100 people, many of whom have been arrested.”

Brussels said Lukashenko’s regime was continuing “its deplorable tactics of intimidation and repression against its critics and potential political opponents ahead of the ‘elections’ in February.”

The Belarusian authorities have cracked down ruthlessly on opponents of Lukashenko, in power since 1994, after mass protests erupted in the wake of a 2020 presidential election the West says he stole.

The repression means there will be no meaningful opposition at the vote on Feb. 25.

The election is the first nationwide ballot since 2020 and will determine the makeup of the lower house of parliament.

Leading Belarusian rights group Viasna said at least 24 people were arrested across the country on Jan. 22.

“The regime’s thugs targeted former political prisoners and the families of those currently held,” said exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.

Belarus has been subjected to repeated rounds of EU sanctions over the crackdown on the opposition and for its role as a staging post in Russia’s war on Ukraine.

European Union,

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