Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Milinkevich Calls For 'Peaceful Uprooting Of Lukashenka Dictatorship' And For 'Freedom Volunteers' To Undertake Longterm Education Of Compatriots

MINSK, Belarus (AP) - "Opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich called Wednesday for tens of thousands of Belarusian volunteers to educate their compatriots about freedom, and said free elections, free speech and free education would be the main planks in the opposition program.

President Alexander Lukashenko has faced international condemnation of the March 19 election, which he won with 83 percent of the vote according to official results. Milinkevich, who received only around 6 percent, has alleged widespread fraud.

Thousands of people demonstrated in central Minsk after the election to protest the result, and hundreds of opposition protesters remain in jail after the breakup of a protest tent camp in a central square and a violent clash between demonstrators and riot police.

In an address to the Belarusian people that was posted on his Web site Wednesday, Milinkevic said the opposition was transforming "a wonderful, romantic impulse of a courageous minority" into a mass movement in the authoritarian former Soviet state.

The movement will collect signatures for a petition to demand changes in the election code and call for parliamentary and local council deputies to be recalled.

Independent television and radio stations for Belarusians had been established abroad, he said. Milinkevich promised "maximum support" for print media, saying it was essential to break authorities' monopoly on the media, which he said had been created "for the stupefaction, intimidation and insult of their own people."

According to the Web posting, Milinkevich's movement, which still has no formal name, will create universities in Belarus and will help transfer expelled students to European universities.

Milinkevich predicted his opposition movement would be victorious if hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in the capital, Minsk.

"We will not retreat but are moving toward a siege of the regime," Milinkevich said. "We don't have the right to hover in the clouds of romantic dreaming about the fast and immediate arrival of freedom."

He said the aim of the movement would be the "peaceful uprooting of dictatorship" in Belarus and said protests were just part of the strategy.

He said Lukashenko's election victory was achieved "with the aid of violence and lies." The president's influence in society is "inexorably declining," he said." ...

Associated Press "Belarusian opposition leader calls for "freedom volunteers" to educate compatriots" via Kyiv Post April 5, 2006 18:55


"The [Lukashenka April 8] inauguration will not see any leaders of the neighbouring counties. According to the official Belarusian information, nobody was invited - probably in order to avoid embarrassment of refusals.

Representatives of public associations of the [so-called Union State of Belarus and Russia], executive bodies, parliamentarians, heads of major Belarusian enterprises will observe the assumption of the office of the president.

The state television will broadcast the ceremony. Its climax is concentrated within the oath given by the head of state with his hand on the Constitution, which will take place in the building of the Palace of Republic, and the speech on the future of the country. Then the festivities will move to the Kastrychnitskaya Square. Troops will march in front of the president and representatives of the Armed Forces, frontier, railway and interior troops, the Ministry of Emergency units and KGB troops will take the oath for their Supreme Commander-in-Chief. This joint oath carries specific implication - each soldier will associate his future with the future of Lukashenka."

Minsk's new Palace of the Republic. Site of Lukashenka's April 8 Coronation; and, according to Lukashenka, the center of the universe on April 8.

Photo credit: With thanks.


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