Belarus, a former Soviet republic closely allied with Russia, has been rocked by street protests and strikes since authorities announced that veteran leader Alexander Lukashenko won a vote on August 9 by a landslide.
Since then, people have taken to the streets every week to demand Lukashenko’s resignation and allow new elections to be held.
Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne condemned the crackdown.
“Violence is never the answer to the people’s legitimate wishes for democracy and freedom,” Champagne said in a tweet, adding that he would discuss the current situation in Belarus with “key partners” at his next meeting. trip to Europe.
🇨🇦 condemns the shocking & amp; continued crackdown on public protesters today in #Belarus . Violence is never the answer to the people’s legitimate wishes for democracy & amp; freedom.
I will be discussing the situation with key partners this week during my trip to Europe. pic.twitter.com/5bfnI5uPQh
Lukashenko, a former director of a collective farm in power since 1994, denies that his victory was the result of cheating.
Security forces arrested more than 13,000 people in a post-election crackdown, some of whom were later released.
Lukashenko’s main political opponents are either in prison or have fled abroad.
Sunday’s violence followed a Lukashenko meeting held on Saturday in a Minsk prison with detained opposition leaders, an unusual event that has led some opposition activists to believe he was preparing to make concessions.
In a rare concession, two people who attended the meeting with Lukashenko – businessman Yuri Voskresensky and Dmitry Rabtsevich, director of the Minsk office of software maker PandaDoc – were released on Sunday evening, Dmitry Rabtsevich reported on Sunday evening. Belarusian state.
The United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada have imposed sanctions on a series of senior Belarusian officials accused of fraud and human rights violations following the presidential election.
Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who is now based in Lithuania, called for new elections and the release of all political prisoners.
“We will continue to march peacefully and persistently and demand what is ours: new free and transparent elections,” Tikhanovskaya wrote on his Telegram channel on Sunday.
Similar rallies were held in other cities across the country on Sunday.