Belarus Protests Police Authorised To Use Lethal Weapons


Belarus Protests Police Authorised To Use Lethal Weapons

Police in Belarus have been authorised to use lethal force if necessary against anti-government protesters, a senior government official says.

The move was in response to increasingly radicalised, violent anti-Lukashenko groups, he said.

Separately, EU foreign ministers have said they are ready to impose sanctions against President Alexander Lukashenko.

Protests have swept the country since Mr Lukashenko claimed victory in an August poll widely viewed as rigged.

The Belarusian authorities have been accused of brutality and torture in their suppression of the mass street protests that followed.

Referring to Sunday’s protests in the capital, Minsk, First Deputy Interior Minister Gennady Kazakevich said they had “become organised and extremely radical”, adding they now mainly centred on Minsk and were less widespread.

Whereas protesters hurled stones and bottles in the afternoon, as well as wielding knives, by nightfall they had moved on to building barricades and burning tyres, he said.

“This has nothing to do with civil protests. We’re confronted not just by aggression, but by groups of militants, radicals, anarchists and football hooligans,” he said in a video statement.

“On behalf of the interior ministry, I say that we will not leave the streets and will guarantee the law in the country. Law enforcement personnel and interior troops will use special equipment and lethal weapons if need be.”

European Union foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg said they were ready to expand sanctions to take in Mr Lukashenko, according to a statement.

But the ministers say the president’s refusal to consider new elections as a way out of the crisis leaves the bloc with no choice.

“This is an answer to the evolving situation in Belarus,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters. “There has not been any kind of signal from the Belarus authorities to engage in any kind of conversation.”

Belarus Protests Police Authorised To Use Lethal Weapons


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