At a rally in Grodno on Saturday, Alexander Lukashenko claimed that most photos showing people who were severely beaten by riot police and other security forces were fake and ordered striking factories to be shut down.
On injuried detainees
Addressing his supporters, Lukashenko claimed that most images showing injuries caused by law security officials are staged.
“Who is using the internet? 60% showed bruises. 60% are staged shots! 60%! Time will pass, we will calmly tell you about it and show you. Now is not the time to talk about it so as not to disturb people,” he said.
On security officers
In addition, he urged the people to “forgive” the policemen “even if they made a mistake somewhere”. He also stressed that they are a necessary part of keeping the state safe.
“What will you do if you see thugs on the streets? Who will you call?” he asked. “Don’t attack these people. These are your people. Even if they made a mistake somewhere, forgive them.”
On striking enterprises
Besides asking for the police to be forgiven, the president made it clear that he wants the country’s striking workforce to be punished and ordered to close those enterprises “by lock” from Monday.
“If someone does not want to work, do not force them. Don’t do that, we won’t force them anyway and we won’t persuade them. The country will survive,” he added.
On protests and ringleaders
“The riots are the core, the instigators are not Grodno residents, not Belarusians. They are sitting there, in Warsaw, in Vilnius. And you see where those alternative [candidates] ran? Nobody forced them, nobody drove them out of Belarus. Some of them asked me to save them and take them out. Some made a circle through Russia and Ukraine and settled there.”
On foreign threats
“Today there are people who are pushing us into the abyss of discord and hatred. Us, the residents of Grodno, where an international festival is being held, which brings together different peoples and nationalities. […]
On the western border, they are restless, they are rattling weapons, they threaten, they openly interfere in the internal affairs of our sovereign state. […] Special forces troops should be on the border. I have just arrived from there. And we are forced to keep them on the streets and squares, ensuring the rule of law and order. […]
I want to remind you that this is not only our border, it is the border of the Union State. And this is the border of the CSTO. And the answer will be appropriate. The leadership of our country and the leadership of the CSTO members took a strong stance: we will allow humiliate Belarus. And I am grateful to those heads of state who support Belarus today. But I’m sure we can handle it ourselves.”