Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš expressed support for Belarusian protesters, who have been protesting since Sunday against the allegedly rigged presidential election in which Alexander Lukashenko maintained his position as president. Babiš called for a repeat election, adding that he has already discussed this issue with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
“A cowardly aggressive police beat defenseless people. It’s an unbelievable atrocity. I firmly hope that these are the last hours of the dictatorial regime and that the citizens will win,” Babiš wrote on Twitter after he watched several videos of current events in Belarus.
Díval jsem se teď na vícero videí z Běloruska, kde zbabělá agresivní policie mlátí bezbranné lidi. Je to neuvěřitelné zvěrstvo. Pevně doufám, že jsou to poslední hodiny diktátorského režimu a že občané zvítězí.
— Andrej Babiš (@AndrejBabis) August 13, 2020
Protests against the alleged falsification of the results of Sunday’s presidential election have lasted for five days now. The police cracked down on those who took to the streets on the first day of protests. According to BBC, at least two people died in the demonstrations, and almost 7,000 protesters were arrested.
According to official election results, Lukashenko, who has ruled the country since 1994 and is the first and only president of independent Belarus, won 80 percent of the vote. The opposition immediately called the results manipulated.
The Czech prime minister stated that after discussing the issue with his Polish counterpart, saying he supported Poland’s proposal to convene the European Council on the issue.
“We must not wait. The Belarusians need our quick help,” Babiš wrote on Twitter, adding that there should be a repeat election.
“It must be transparent and in the presence of foreign observers,” he added.
Mluvil jsem s polským premiérem @MorawieckiM a navrhneme @eucopresident urgentní videocall členů Evropské rady. Nelze čekat. Bělorusové potřebují naší rychlou pomoc. Volby v Bělorusku se musí opakovat, musí být transparentní a za přítomnosti zahraničních pozorovatelů.
— Andrej Babiš (@AndrejBabis) August 14, 2020
Babiš also appealed directly to President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen to hold a videoconference about the situation in Belarus.
The UN and the United States earlier condemned the actions of the Belarusian police and the regime of Lukashenko. According to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the US will also consider imposing sanctions on Belarus. The leaders of the European Union are to discuss a similar step today.
Earlier this week, the Belarusian president accused the United Kingdom, Poland and the Czech Republic of helping to organize anti-government protests in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček thus summoned the Belarusian ambassador on Wednesday to refute such accusations.
“Undemocratic elections and unwarranted claims that Czechia is organizing protests,” Petříček commented on Twitter, adding that he emphasized to the Belarusian ambassador in Prague that Czechia rejects Lukashenko’s claims.
Title image: Police use batons on protesters during a mass protest following the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, Monday, August 10, 2020. Thousands of people have protested in Belarus for a second straight night after official results from weekend elections gave an overwhelming victory to authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, extending his 26-year rule. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)