Tuesday, March 28, 2006

European Human Rights Activist And Former Czech President Vaclav Havel Calls On Lukashenka To Resign; Lukashenka Coronation Delayed

"Prague- Czech ex-president Vaclav Havel condemned the rigging of the recent presidential elections in Belarus, but was denied entry by the Belarussian embassy when he wanted to personally hand over his protest, along with a call for Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko to step down. Havel had to cast his letter in the embassy's mail box.

On his arrival in front of the embassy, he was accompanied by senators Zdenek Barta (for the Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL), Jiri Oberfalzer (Civic Democrats, ODS) and deputy Tatana Fischerova (for the Freedom Union, US-DEU), who, along with other personalities, had founded the Civic Belarus association which is to monitor the situation and help the Belarussian opposition....

"We protest against imprisoning of demonstrators. This is an act of solidarity. From our own experience we know how important acts of solidarity are for those who are struggling for a freer regime," Havel, a former leading anti-communist dissident, told journalists.

He said it is a task of the new EU countries to stress that evil must be resisted from the very beginning instead of waiting for "catastrophic consequences." ...

The Free Belarus group has been founded, apart from Havel and the above MPs, by senator Karel Schwarzenberg, ex-senator Jan Ruml and deputy ombudsman Anna Sabatova. Their activities have been appreciated by Vladislav Yandyuk, representatives of the Belarussian exile in the Czech Republic.

"This is a signal to Belarussians that the basic and democratic values have a weight if struggled for by personalities such as Vaclav Havel," Yandyuk said."

CTK "Havel wants to protest at Belarussian embassy, is denied entry" ceskenoviny.cz
March 28, 2006


MINSK (Reuters) - Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, whose re-election sparked opposition protests, on Tuesday abruptly delayed his inauguration without explanation, but declared "all political battles" were over in his country.

Lukashenko had been scheduled to take the oath of office on Friday and some opposition activists had been gearing up to mark their disapproval by launching a sticker campaign depicting a skull on a black background.

But Nikolai Lozovik, secretary of the Central Election Commission, said a new date would be set and the ceremony might now take place in the first half of April. He gave no reason for the postponement.

"We are now working on the new date which we will inform you of later," Lukashenko's spokesman, Pavel Lyogky, told Reuters.

The re-election on March 19 of the veteran leader, whose Soviet-style polices have brought condemnation in the West, has been branded fraudulent by the United States, the European Union and international observers.

The delay in the ceremony struck many observers as strange. Belarus's state machinery, particularly when it relates to the president, runs with Soviet-style predictability....

"All political battles are over," official news agency BelTA quoted Lukashenko as telling ministers. "Despite some disturbances, we have put the country back in order, just as it used to be before." ...

Main opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich, defeated by Lukashenko in the election, denounced the trials as a farce.

Second opposition leader Alexander Kozulin, arrested at the weekend, could face six years in jail on malicious hooliganism charges. He has said through his lawyer that he would not give up fighting."

Dmitry Solovyov "Belarus leader delays inauguration" ReutersUK March 28, 2006

Poster for the Minsk-based Belarus Free Theater, which must operate 'underground' due to lack of freedom of speech and assembly under Lukashenka's regime. Yesterday, the Free Theater appealed for international solidarity with the democratic protesters in Belarus.

Image Credit: Belarus Free Theater, Minsk via www. moscownews.com


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