Controlled by puppeteers Here’s what the Belarusian president had to say about last night’s crackdown on protesters
The elections were a holiday. “Some [people] wanted to spoil this holiday. We saw them — they were even brighter [last] night. “Great queues demonstrated” outside of polling stations, deliberately delaying the vote in order to challenge the election results. But I asked the Central Election Commission to extend the voting — 20 minutes later there were no lines. After 8:00 p.m., crowds blocked 33 polling stations in Minsk, putting pressure on members of the election commissions, the military had to get involved. “Our, excuse me, sheep,” were controlled by puppeteers from Poland, Great Britain, and the Czech Republic. They also arrived from Ukraine and Russia — and dropped [off] “boys” with bayonets: in two cities they wanted to storm government bodies, in another [city] the district executive committee was surrounded, “border guards had to intervene.” We didn’t shut down the Internet in Belarus. “If the Internet isn’t working well, this isn’t our initiative, it’s from abroad.” Many were denied entry into the country in the last 24 hours, but, nevertheless, “they walked and wandered around all night, and tried to attack guys from the police” — who responded with dignity. It’s good that riot police protected the people in Minsk, that they didn’t let them get to the presidential residence, because it would have been a different kettle of fish there. The police officers acted mildly, rubber bullets were only fired during an attack on the police department. “They’re throwing around [the idea] that in [one] city the guys from the riot police almost put down [their] shields” — this is an absolute lie. At night, I instructed the KGB [the national intelligence agency] to provide security for [Svetlana] Tikhanovskaya’s campaign headquarters (they asked for this themselves), “So that, God forbid, they wouldn’t kill anyone: they needed a sacred sacrifice.” There will be no Maidan, we will not allow the country to be torn apart. They are trying to put pressure on Belarus from different sides purposefully, “they’re acting in a hybrid manner on all fronts,” but we will prevail.
Cover photo: Sergey Gapon / Reuters / Scanpix / LETA