Leader of the Ultimatum Opposition President of Belarus
Windowofworld.com – The political crisis in Belarus has entered a new chapter. The exiled opposition leader gave President Alexander Lukashenko a two-week deadline to resign, end the violence and release political prisoners. He also warned that if the ultimatum was not heeded then Lukashenko would face a crippling mass strike.
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who declared she was the winner of the 9 August elections, issued what she said was the “people’s ultimatum”. He demanded Lukashenko resign from power on October 25 and stop the “state terror” waged by the authorities against peaceful protesters.
“If our demands are not met by October 25, the whole country will peacefully take to the streets,” he said in a statement released in Lithuania, where he is currently based in exile after leaving Belarus after the election.
“And on October 26 a national strike will begin at all companies, all roads will be blocked, and sales in state shops will collapse,” he threatened.
“You have 13 days,” he said as quoted by AFP on Thursday (14/10/2020).
Tikhanovskaya said it was time for Belarusians to take sides after the authorities launched “state terror”.
“Anyone who has not made the decision to turn to the people’s side is a terror accessory. State openly that you no longer support the regime,” he appealed.
The statement also represents a shift in the attitude of Tikhanovskaya, which has quickly won support from western leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Over the weekend the Belarusian authorities allowed Tikhanovskaya to speak with her imprisoned husband, who advised his wife that she should be “harsher” with the authorities.
All of Lukashenko’s top critics have been jailed or expelled from the country, including Tikhanovskaya who was granted protection by EU member Lithuania.
Separately, Sergei Dylevsky, the last member of the opposition Coordinating Council still in Belarus, has left the country and is now in Warsaw, the group said.
Tikhanovskaya’s allies have formed a Coordinating Council to oversee Lukashenko’s peaceful transition of power.
Its members include Nobel Prize-winning writer and outspoken critic Lukashenko, Svetlana Alexievich, who has left Belarus for treatment in Germany.
The unprecedented protests in Belarus erupted after Lukashenko claimed victory in last August’s elections over Tikhanovskaya, a 38-year-old political upstart whose husband Sergei Tikhanovsky planned to challenge Lukashenko in an election but was later jailed.
Over the past few weeks Belarusian riot police have detained thousands of demonstrators who have reported torture and abuse in custody, sparking international criticism and Western sanctions. Several people died in the crackdown.
On Monday, the former Soviet state interior minister threatened to fire on protesters, marking a major increase in the two-month stalemate between Lukashenko and protesters.