Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, whose re-election in a disputed ballot final month led to weeks of mass protests, has been inaugurated for a sixth time period in an unannounced ceremony.
State media stated a number of hundred folks attended the ceremony on the Palace of Independence in central Minsk.
Streets have been sealed off as Mr Lukashenko’s motorcade raced by means of town, witnesses stated.
One opposition politician likened the occasion to a secret “thieves’ assembly”.
Presidential inaugurations are usually publicised properly upfront as main state events.
As a substitute, state information company Belta reported on Wednesday: “Alexander Lukashenko has taken workplace as President of Belarus. The inauguration ceremony is happening in these minutes within the Palace of Independence.”
Mr Lukashenko, who has dominated the previous Soviet republic for 26 years, stated Belarus wanted safety and consensus “getting ready to a world disaster”, an obvious reference to the coronavirus pandemic, Belta reported.
“I can not, I’ve no proper to desert the Belarusians,” he added.
Lukashenko busses within the get together trustworthy
Evaluation by Jonah Fisher, BBC Information
This was not the assured inauguration of a person who actually believes he has 80% of the nation behind him. All the things about it was aimed toward avoiding a public response.
There was no prior warning that the ceremony would happen, and even when proceedings have been below means there have been no dwell broadcasts on state tv or radio. An viewers of loyal officers was bussed in and there seem to have been no international dignitaries. Not even the Russian ambassador was invited.
Belarus’s opposition instantly referred to as for contemporary demonstrations. However there are legitimate questions on the place Belarus’s protest motion goes.
Although the anti-Lukashenko demonstrations nonetheless muster giant crowds, notably on the weekend, they haven’t led to main fissures within the president’s assist base. The safety forces and armed forces are nonetheless loyal and occasions (just like the weekend rallies) that have been as soon as unbelievable and unprecedented are actually common and virtually routine.
It’s clear that Russia – Belarus’ most vital ally – sees President Lukashenko because the “least worse” choice in the meanwhile. Whereas that continues to be the case Belarus’s chief appears decided to disregard the protests and keep it up.
How has the opposition reacted?
His principal political rival, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who fled to neighbouring Lithuania amid mass arrests, stated Mr Lukashenko “after right this moment is neither a authorized nor a respectable head of Belarus”.
Fellow opposition politician Pavel Latushko posted on social media: “The place are the jubilant residents? The place is the diplomatic corps?”
“It’s apparent that Alexander Lukashenko is solely the president of the Omon (riot police) and a handful of mendacity officers.”
He referred to as for “an indefinite motion of civil disobedience”.
The opposition Nexta Stay channel on the Telegram messaging app referred to as for avenue protests from 18:00 native time (15:00 GMT) and urged drivers to dam roads and create visitors jams.
“Ranging from this very day, he [Lukashenko] formally turns into a bandit and fraudster who just isn’t recognised wherever within the civilised world,” the channel stated.
In the meantime, Lithuanian Overseas Minister Linas Linkevicius described the inauguration as a “farce” and “illegitimate” on Twitter.
What’s the background?
Ms Tikhanovskaya claims to have gained 60-70% in locations the place votes have been correctly counted.
Many opposition figures are actually in self-imposed exile in neighbouring international locations amid a wave of arrests.
Regardless of the crackdown, anti-government protests present no indicators of diminishing. On Sunday, a crowd of about 100,000 folks staged one other rally within the capital, demanding that Mr Lukashenko step down