“Clearly Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko must go”: French President Emmanuel Macron – World News

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French President Emmanuel Macron has said Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko must step down, in comments to a French weekly published on Sunday.

“It is clear that he has to leave,” he told the Journal du Dimanche, speaking a few days after the European Union refused to recognize Lukashenko as the legitimate president of the country.

“It is a crisis of power, an authoritarian power which cannot accept the logic of democracy and which hangs on by force. It is clear that Lukashenko must go, ”he declared.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Belarus since the August 9 elections that opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya claims won, despite Lukashenko’s insistence that he win a landslide victory.

The beleaguered leader launched a brutal crackdown on protesters – sparking condemnation from the West but support from Moscow.

He recently sparked further protests and Western criticism after holding a secret inauguration for himself.

Macron said on Sunday he had been “impressed by the courage of the protesters” in Belarus.

“They know the risks they take by demonstrating every weekend, and yet they are pushing forward with the movement to bring democracy to life in this country which has been deprived of it for so long,” he said. declared.

“Women in particular, who march every Saturday, deserve our respect,” he added.

More than 90 people – mostly women – were arrested on Saturday during opposition rallies, an NGO said.

The EU said Thursday that Lukashenko’s nomination lacked “democratic legitimacy” and refused to recognize him as president.

Brussels is reviewing its relations with the country, said the diplomatic head of the bloc.

EU ministers agreed in principle last month to impose sanctions on the regime, but Cyprus has blocked approval until the bloc adopts similar measures against Turkey over Mediterranean gas exploration eastern.

On Friday, the EU’s Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, extended their own sanctions against Belarus.

The issue will be debated at an EU summit on October 1-2 in Brussels.

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