09/24/2020, 10.35
BELARUS - RUSSIA
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Lukashenko secretly sworn in as president. Hundreds of arrests

The swearing-in ceremony in the presidential palace defended by deployed soldiers and with the city centre closed to the public. In the evening, demonstrators in different cities marched with banners and words: "We have not chosen you!". Germany and the United States have decided not to recognize his presidency due to a lack of "democratic legitimacy".

Minsk (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Alexandr Lukashenko was sworn in yesterday for his sixth term as president of the country, having already ruled Belarus for 26 years. Due to possible protests, the ceremony took place in secret, with the city centre closed to the public and a large number of soldiers deployed in key points and around the presidential palace.

The Belta state agency described the swearing and signing ceremony and Lukashenko's "pride" in his inaugural speech, calling him a champion who saves "our values, peace, sovereignty, independence". In a message on Telegram, an opposition representative, Pavel Latuchko, called the ceremony "a secret service operation, under the protection of anti-riot forces and in secret".

In the evening, thousands of protesters gathered in central Minsk to criticize the investiture of Lukashenko, accused of electoral fraud. Many of them carried signs and banners with the words: "We did not choose you!". Police in riot gear tried to disperse the protesters using water cannons and making at least 153 arrests. Demonstrations were also held in Mogilev, Gomel and other cities.

Lukashenko accuses the West of being behind the demonstrations that have taken place since 9 August and has ruled out any dialogue with the opposition, whose most important members are either in prison or in exile.

Yesterday, Germany and the United States decided not to recognize Lukashenko's presidency, given that the elections lack "democratic legitimacy".

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