Dozens of people are arrested while protesting the Belarus presidential election have vanished and remain unaccounted for, and the EU should not forget them, apposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said on Monday.
She fled to neighboring Lithuania in fear for her own safety, described her missing supporters as political prisoners made to disappear by the regime of strongman Alexander Lukashenko, who is still clinging to power despite continuing widespread protests and labor strikes over the disputed august 9 election.
Tikhanovskaya said, “Everybody has seen all the violence that our authorities have committed, our police committed toward all these peaceful people. And not one criminal case was organized to investigate this, you know these crimes as if its normal. No its not normal and cases should be opened against every policeman that beat these people.”
She said, “Strikes are extremely important and also strikes can have different forms. There are many ways, and it is not only though demonstrations. I know that this will not stop. You should understand, we woke up , we will not accept him anymore.”
She told that, it would be up to her husband to decide if he still wanted to run for president after being released from prison and she said she was not sure that he had full information about the recent developments in the country given his incarceration.
She expressed relatively little concern about Russian intervention and seemed to go out of her way to avoid provoking the Kremlin, even refraining from criticizing the Russian government over the poisoning of opposition leader Alexi Navalny, the anti-corruption protester who has become a nemesis of President Vladimir Putin.
She also defended her decision to leave for Lithuania, saying it was necessary not only for her personal safety but has allowed her to communicate with international leaders and publicize the plight of her supporters.
Still, despite expressing gratitude for the support of outside powers, she urged that Belarus be allowed to stand on its own.