Mass protests have been rocking Belarus since the results of the nation’s presidential election were announced on 9 August, showing incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko securing of 80% of the vote. The opposition refused to acknowledge the results of the vote, accusing the authorities of mass fraud.
European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton on Wednesday stated that the bloc will reinforce sanctions against Belarus.
“It is clear that [the outcome of the Belarus presidential election] is not in line with the wish of the people, there has been unacceptable violence, and the rule of law is not respected. Sanctions have already been taken and will no doubt be reinforced this afternoon”, he told Europe 1 radio.
Belarusian opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya previously urged Brussels not to recognise the results of the presidential election, as EU leaders are preparing to hold a summit via a videoconference focused on the situation in the country.
Mass demonstrations in Belarus have resulted in violent clashes between police and protesters in the capital and other cities, with law enforcement using tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets, and stun grenades at the rallies. Numerous detainees reported police abuse in custody, while the Interior Ministry denied this.