On 8 September, ex-presidential candidate of Belarus Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and Deputy of the Belarusian parliament Andrei Savinykh addressed the PACE.
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya addressed the members of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe via videoconference. She drew attention to the inadmissibility of detentions and beatings of peaceful demonstrators, which regularly take place in Belarus, as well as intimidation and criminal prosecution of active opposition politicians.
She also recalled “the abduction of Maria Kolesnikova, Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov.” According to Tikhanovskaya, such actions should not be the norm in Europe and a civilized world, and Belarus needs assistance from international structures.
“My country, my nation, my people now need help. We need international pressure on one person who is desperately clinging to power. We need to pressure those people who gave and carried out criminal orders that violate international law and human rights,” said Tikhanovskaya.
She stated that not a single major international organization recognized the results of the presidential election, and most of the population of Belarus supports and defends democratic values.
After Tikhanovskaya, Chairman of the International Affairs Commission of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus Andrei Savinykh made the statement. He said that the actions of some presidential contenders were aimed at creating political and social tension in society.
According to the deputy, protests in Belarus were carefully planned and coordinated from abroad, including via social networks and particularly NEXTA telegram channel, “which, according to some media reports, is supported by the central group of psychological actions of the Polish armed forces”.
“These channels were used to coordinate the movement of protester columns across the city. Commands to stage actions, commands for people to gather up in specific locations were given in real time. The tricks that have been employed surprisingly repeat the techniques used to control the maidan revolution in Ukraine, color revolutions in Egypt, Serbia and other countries,” he said.
Savinykh said that the protests were violent in the early days: attacks were made on law enforcement officers. He said that the protesters used Molotov cocktails, rebars, sticks and stones, […] which caused the reaction of security forces. But the attitude of the security forces changed when the protests became peaceful, he noted.
Besides, the official stated that “the sanctions already imposed by individual countries are a road to nowhere”. He also noted that the current political system of Belarus is behind the times and needs to be developed; and a significant part of the society has formed a stable demand for changes.
“The parliament is ready to work on this and welcomes a broad dialogue on the issue. However, the discussion is possible only through a healthy political process and in strict compliance with our laws. The dialogue cannot proceed under street pressure or foreign mediation,” he said.