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Belarus: Lukashenko hits back against opponents with criminal case

President Alexander Lukashenko has branded his opponents “Western puppets” as the country’s prosecutor general announced criminal charges against opposition leaders.

A day after Lukashenko warned the strike participants that they would face dismissal in a bid to stop the spreading of unrest, it was announced that opposition leaders were being investigated on charges of undermining national security.

The Belarusian Prosecutor General’s office opened on Thursday a criminal inquiry against the members of the Coordination Council on the grounds of a violation of the constitution.

On Wednesday, they had called for a new presidential vote and demanded an investigation into the crackdown on protests.

“The creation and the activities of the Coordination Council are aimed at seizing power and inflicting damage to the national security,” said Prosecutor General Alexander Konyuk.

Protesters again took to the streets of Minsk and other Belarusian cities on Thursday after the EU rejected the official results of Lukashenko’s landslide win with 80 per cent of the vote.

Demonstrators have been pushing for their authoritarian leader to step down after his reelection, which opposition leaders claim was rigged.

Sunday’s crowd grew to an unprecedented 200,000.

At least three protesters have died and police detained almost 7,000 people and injured hundreds during the four days of protest.

President Alexander Lukashenko has dismissed the protesters as Western puppets.

He told the European Union to mind its own business while the EU leaders, for their part, said they were preparing sanctions.

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