Belarus abruptly swears in Lukashenko

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on September 23, 2020 - Duration: 01:27s

Belarus abruptly swears in Lukashenko

Alexander Lukashenko was suddenly sworn in as Belarusian president on Wednesday, despite protests against his disputed election.

The opposition immediately cried foul.

Lucy Fielder reports.

Belarus abruptly swears in Lukashenko

Alexander Lukashenko was abruptly sworn in for a new five-year term as president of Belarus on Wednesday, in an inauguration that came with no warning.

The opposition, which has staged mass protests since his disputed election in early August, immediately decried the inauguration as illegitimate.

And called for its followers to return to the streets.

It accuses Lukashenko of rigging the vote.

Lukashenko has been in power for 26 years, and his inauguration is usually publicised as a major state occasion.

Just a few hundred people were there.

One opposition politician Pavel Latushko likened it to a secret meeting of thieves.

"Where are the jubilant citizens and the diplomatic corps," he asked on social media, calling Lukashenko president, only, of the riot police and a handful of "lying officials".

He called for civil disobedience.

Lukashenko has so far withstood the protests with backing from his ally, Russia's Vladimir Putin.

And through a harsh security crackdown.

Belarus has just 9.5 million people, but it matters to Russia as a buffer against NATO and conduit for oil and gas exports.

The United States and European Union are drawing up sanctions against officials involved in the election and subsequent clampdown.

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Pavel Latushko

Belarusian diplomat

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