“We are not afraid”: Belarus opposition leader calls for unity
Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya called on protesters to continue their movement and said President Alexander Lukashenko had no other choice but to engage in dialogue with the opposition, in an interview granted to AFP.
The opponent assured that Belarusians had overcome their fear, adding that the decision of the head of state to strengthen border security was “an attempt to distract us from internal problems”.
“I am so proud of Belarusians now, because after 26 years of fear they are ready to stand up for their rights,” said the leading opposition figure from Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, where she is standing. is a refugee after the presidential election of August 9, which she claims to have won.
“I call on them to continue, not to stop, because it is really important now to remain united in the fight for our rights”, she added, on the eve of major demonstrations scheduled for Sunday in Belarus.
“They must understand that we are not a protest movement. We are the people of Belarus, we are a majority and we will not leave. We are no longer afraid of them,” said AFP. 37-year-old English teacher.
The opposition rejects the results of the presidential election which gives Mr. Lukashenko the winner with 80% of the vote.
Ms Tikhanovskaya was new to politics before embarking on the election campaign and gathering huge crowds of supporters, a situation unheard of in Belarus, ruled with an iron fist by Alexander Lukashenko for 26 years.
When asked what could push the latter to dialogue with the opposition, she simply replied that he “had no choice”.
But this dialogue should begin as soon as possible “so that the crisis does not become deeper,” she added.
President Lukashenko on Saturday ordered his defense minister to take “the strictest measures” to defend the territorial integrity of Belarus and he went to inspect the military units deployed in Grodno, in the west, near the border Polish, according to the Belarusian Presidency.
He said on Friday that he would “solve the problem” of the protest movement.