‘I’m not a saint’: Lukashenko gives handy over energy after referendum

MINSK (BELARUS): Alexander Lukashenko, the chief of Belarus, mentioned on Monday he can be keen handy over energy after a referendum, in an obvious bid to pacify mass protests and strikes that pose the most important problem to his 26 years in workplace.
He made the provide, which he insisted wouldn’t be delivered on whereas he was underneath stress from protesters, after exiled opposition politician Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya mentioned she was keen to steer the nation.
In an indication of Lukashenko’s rising vulnerability, he confronted heckling and chants of “step down” throughout a speech to employees at one of many massive state-run industrial vegetation which might be the delight of his Soviet-style financial mannequin and core assist base.
Russia has instructed Lukashenko it is able to present army assist to Belarus within the occasion of an exterior menace. Lukashenko faces the specter of European Union sanctions after a bloody crackdown on protests following what demonstrators say was his rigged re-election victory final week. He denies shedding, citing official outcomes that gave him simply over 80% of the vote.
Lukashenko instructed employees there can be no new presidential election, one thing the opposition needs, till he was killed.
He additionally supplied to vary the structure, an obvious concession that appears unlikely to fulfill protesters.
“We’ll put the adjustments to a referendum, and I’ll hand over my constitutional powers. But not underneath stress or due to the road,” Lukashenko mentioned, in remarks quoted by the official Belta information company.
“Yes, I’m not a saint. You know my harsh facet. I’m not everlasting. But should you drag down the primary president you will drag down neighbouring nations and all the remainder.”
Speaking in a video handle from Lithuania, opposition politician Tsikhanouskaya urged safety and legislation enforcement officers to modify sides, saying they’d be forgiven in the event that they did so now.
“I’m able to take duty and act as a nationwide chief throughout this era,” Tsikhanouskaya mentioned.
She known as for the creation of a authorized mechanism to make sure that a brand new truthful presidential election might be held.
Her video was launched as Interfax reported that staff from the state broadcaster BT has gone on strike, after a number of presenters and employees publicly resigned final week in solidarity with the protesters.
The broadcaster was displaying re-runs on Monday morning earlier than issuing a recent information bulletin. Videos on social media urged BT had at one level aired footage of an empty studio with white sofas, and music taking part in.
Reuters couldn’t independently verify that and the broadcaster couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.
Thousands of protesters marched in Minsk to a manufacturing facility the place Lukashenko flew by helicopter to talk to putting employees.
He acquired a tough reception.
“Thanks, I’ve mentioned all the things. You can (proceed to) shout ‘step down,'” he mentioned, after struggling to be heard above calls for that he be give up.
He then walked away as the group chanted “Step down”.
The media outlet Tut.By reported that employees at Belaruskali, one of many world’s largest potash producers, had additionally threatened to cease manufacturing. The state-owned agency, which is a key supply of greenback income for Belarus, mentioned its plant was nonetheless working.
Tsikhanouskaya is a former English instructor who has grow to be one of many main opposition figures.
She fled overseas final week, saying it was for the security of her youngsters, however rapidly started releasing movies calling for anti-government protests to proceed.
The unrest has unfold to these usually seen as loyal to the president, as employees from massive state factories staged walkouts and a few police, journalists from state media, and an envoy additionally got here out.
The Kremlin mentioned on Sunday that President Vladimir Putin had instructed Lukashenko Moscow was prepared to help Belarus in accordance with a collective army pact if vital and that exterior stress was being utilized to the nation.
European Union leaders will ship a message of solidarity to Belarusian protesters throughout an emergency video convention on Wednesday, and Britain joined a refrain of Western condemnation.
“The world has watched with horror on the violence utilized by the Belarusian authorities to suppress the peaceable protests that adopted this fraudulent Presidential election,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab mentioned.

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