Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has warned that the law enforcement will crack down on the protesters in the country, as the government has “nowhere to retreat,” TASS reported.
“As of today we are going to take no prisoners particularly in people’s apartments where they hide. If someone touches a military man [I’ve already reprimanded the generals], he should leave the place without hands at least. I say it publicly to make everyone understand our further resolve. This is it. We have nowhere to retreat and we are not going to retreat. We are ready and we will act,” Lukashenko said, quoted by BelTA news agency.
“We’ve had enough. I outlined red lines nobody is allowed to cross from the very start. They crossed the lines in many places, I’ve mentioned it,” the Belarusian leader stated. “This is why those who disrupt railway signal systems today, those who put up fascist flags on overhead power lines, in other words, those who are trying to destroy and destabilize the infrastructure of the state” must be aware that the government will provide a tough response to their actions,” he added.
Lukashenko pointed out that the organizers and the participants of the protests had already gone through “seven or eight stages of a textbook color revolution,” and were about to move towards radicalization.
This is why the government should respond “beautifully and without fault,” the Belarusian leader said. “We don’t live in a vacuum today. It is not the middle of the last century. Time has changed and you see it and know it perfectly well. Only those who have an iron will and patience will win,” he concluded.
Nationwide demonstrations have engulfed Belarus following the August 9 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania.
After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police.
The current unrest is being cheered on by the opposition’s Coordination Council, which has been beating the drum for more protests. In response, the Belarusian authorities have castigated the ongoing turmoil and demanded that these unauthorized demonstrations be stopped.