Belarus

Belarus police will fire on protesters if necessary, says deputy interior minister | World news

Security forces in Belarus could fire on protesters if they deem it necessary, a minister has warned, as EU foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions personally targeting President Alexander Lukashenko.

Gennady Kazakevich, the first deputy interior minister, said in a video statement: “We will not leave the streets, and law enforcement officers and internal troops if necessary will use riot control equipment and lethal weapons.”

The statement was the first time the authorities have explicitly threatened to use firearms against opposition demonstrators and would mark a major escalation in the two-month standoff between Lukashenko and protesters, who have staged peaceful rallies against his disputed re-election in August and against the abuse and torture of detainees.

The warning came after security forces cracked down harshly on anti-Lukashenko protests on Sunday, prompting EU foreign ministers to agree it was time to sanction Lukashenko himself.

Late on Monday, officers used tear gas and stun grenades against a group of older people holding a regular protest march, prompting outrage from the opposition.

The protests broke out when Lukashenko claimed victory in elections held on 9 August that are widely regarded as rigged. Popular opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who claims to be the true winner, has been based in Lithuania since she was forced to flee after being threatened in a conversation with officials the night after the election.

In Belarus, police have so far acknowledged using water cannon, rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the protesters.

Kazakevich claimed that protests had become “extremely radical”, saying stones and bottles were thrown at police on Sunday by protesters armed with knives, who built barricades and set fire to tyres. “This has nothing in common with civil protest,” the deputy minister said, claiming that “groups of fighters, radicals, anarchists and football fans” were taking part.

Belarus

Belarus police will fire on protesters if necessary, says deputy interior minister | Belarus

Security forces in Belarus could fire on protesters if they deem it necessary, a minister has warned, as EU foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions personally targeting President Alexander Lukashenko.

Gennady Kazakevich, the first deputy interior minister, said in a video statement: “We will not leave the streets, and law enforcement officers and internal troops if necessary will use riot control equipment and lethal weapons.”

The statement was the first time the authorities have explicitly threatened to use firearms against opposition demonstrators and would mark a major escalation in the two-month standoff between Lukashenko and protesters, who have staged peaceful rallies against his disputed re-election in August and against the abuse and torture of detainees.

The warning came after security forces cracked down harshly on anti-Lukashenko protests on Sunday, prompting EU foreign ministers to agree it was time to sanction Lukashenko himself.

Late on Monday, officers used tear gas and stun grenades against a group of older people holding a regular protest march, prompting outrage from the opposition.

The protests broke out when Lukashenko claimed victory in elections held on 9 August that are widely regarded as rigged. Popular opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who claims to be the true winner, has been based in Lithuania since she was forced to flee after being threatened in a conversation with officials the night after the election.

In Belarus, police have so far acknowledged using water cannon, rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the protesters.

Kazakevich claimed that protests had become “extremely radical”, saying stones and bottles were thrown at police on Sunday by protesters armed with knives, who built barricades and set fire to tyres. “This has nothing in common with civil protest,” the deputy minister said, claiming that “groups of fighters, radicals, anarchists and football fans” were taking part.

Belarus

Belarus Interior Ministry: Army will use lethal force on protesters

This article contains graphic descriptions and imagery. Discretion is advised.The Belarusian armed forces will use lethal force and “special equipment” against anti-government protesters, First Deputy Interior Minister Henadz Kazakevich said Monday afternoon.

“We have informed the public on the results of the mass events that were organized across the country October 11, as well as the measures taken to maintain public order,” Kazakevich said in a video address

“That being said, the protests, the epicenter of which has mostly moved to Minsk, have become organized and extremely radical,” the state police official continued.

“Consequently,” said Kazakevich, “interior affairs servicemen and the interior troops will not leave the streets and, if necessary, will use special equipment and live ammunition.”

Directed by Minister Yury Karayeu, the republic’s Ministry of Internal Affairs is responsible for law enforcement and general security comes under the command of National Security Advisor Viktor Lukashenko, President Alexander Lukashenko’s eldest son.

A mother-agency for the Belarusian Militia, the Presidential Guard and the state’s Internal Troops – a paramilitary special forces division – the ministry has been working parallel to the State Security Committee (KGB) since the two split from the Belarusian NKVD in 1946.

The first reported case of ammunition being used against peaceful demonstrators in the recent wave of protests was on August 10 with the death of anti-government protester Aliaksandar Taraikouski the night after the contested general election.

With authorities first claiming the man died as an improvised explosive device detonated in his hands, footage filmed by an Associated Press reporter showed Taraikouski was shot in the upper abdomen while walking with his hands raised in front of a cordon.

Police did, however, acknowledge opening fire on demonstrators in the city of Brest (Bierascie) on the Belarusian tri-border with Poland and Ukraine, killing one, Radio Free