Lukashenka: Unauthorized demonstrations must be suppressed instantly

Any unauthorized demonstrations that “interfere with the life of people” must be suppressed instantly, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said Tuesday, speaking to Interior Minister Ihar Shunevich.

Some people wanted to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the independence of the Belarusian National Republic (BNR) with unauthorized events, although they had been banned, Mr. Lukashenka noted.

“Everyone should understand that chaos begins with this,” the Belarusian leader stressed, according to the government’s news agency BelTA.

“That’s why you shouldn’t care about what others may say,” he said. “You shouldn’t care about what statements the European Union or the U.S. Department of State may make. It’s their job to make statements. God forbid we should give rise to a situation similar to the one in which Western states have to live now. Look at France, for example. Why do people die there? We may have an imperfect state system, but we should ensure the security of people. That’s why any unauthorized events that interfere with the life of people must be suppressed instantly. They should understand that this is not the police’s initiative.”

There is enough freedom for everyone in Belarus, Mr. Lukashenka noted. “One shouldn’t ask for trouble,” he said. “If you ask for trouble and want to show yourself off – primarily men do that – you'll get what's coming for you.”

Dozens of people were arrested in Minsk’s central Yakub Kolas Square on Sunday as riot police were trying to thwart attempts to stage a BNR centenary procession. Most of them were released later in the day, but at least 12 people were charged with violating regulations governing “mass events” and may be sentenced to jail terms of up to 15 days.