Over 200 of Belarus' disabled hold rally calling for president’s resignation

Jami Ganz, New York Daily News
·2 min read

Hundreds of disabled people held a rally Thursday in Belarus to demand President Alexander Lukashenko resign.

Several people were detained as a result of the rally, held in the capital of Minsk by more than 200 disabled people, following Lukashenko’s August reelection, which many believe to have been rigged, The Associated Press reports.

Daily protests have followed the politician’s winning a sixth term, which has resulted in the arrests of more than 15,000. While the majority were made to pay fines or spend a serve short jail sentences, there are still 100 behind bars, whom human rights groups have dubbed political prisoners.

Protests have seen the highest number of demonstrators on Sundays, in some cases 100,000 people if not more.

The European nation’s vote has been labeled neither free nor fair by both the United States and the European Union. As a result, America and the EU introduced sanctions against country officials who allegedly took part in rigging and the crackdown that followed the election.

“We want to see the country as it was before the election,” Lukashenko said Thursday during an awards ceremony, noting Belarus “shall remain like that for as long as I’m president.”

An Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe report by rapporteur Wolfgang Benedek presented Thursday referenced “massive and systemic” human rights abuses and called on Belarusian authorities to annul the election results, hold a new election, and release all political prisoners.

Benedek also urged authorities to “immediately cease all violence, in particular torture and ill-treatment against peaceful protesters and opponents.”

Amid police crackdown, this past Sunday’s protest saw a crowd of just 20,000.

With News Wire Services

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