1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
Svetlana Tichanowskaja und Maria Kolesnikowa
Presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and her ally Maria Kolesnikova have vowed to fight on in the name of democracyImage: Getty Images/AFP/S. Gapon
PoliticsEurope

Belarus launches case against Lukashenko critics

John Silk
December 22, 2020

As protests against Alexander Lukashenko continue in Belarus, the country's prosecutors launched criminal cases against Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and other opponents of the long-time ruler.

https://p.dw.com/p/3n1vT

Belarus opposition leaders Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Olga Kovalkova, Maxim Znak, Maria Kolesnikova, Sergei Dylevsky and others are being investigated in relation to forming an "extremist association," Belarus' Public Prosecutor's Office said on Monday.

The office accused the group of forming a "conspiracy" with the objective of seizing control via a coup, the news agency DPA reported.

The criminal proceedings are widely considered as politically motivated as strongman Alexander Lukashenko seeks to silence his opponents.

Government critic Kolesnikova has been in custody since September. The 38-year-old has said security officers put a bag over her head during her arrest and told her she would be taken out of the country "alive or in bits."

Belarus: Demonstrators not giving up

Tsikhanouskaya seeks support

The group of opposition activists announced the creation of the Coordination Council in the wake of the country's August 9 presidential election, which was widely considered fraudulent.

The election commission gave the incumbent seeking a sixth term 80% of the vote compared to 10% for his nearest rival, Tsikhanouskaya.

Lukashenko condemned the Coordination Council as extremist and rejected both overtures for dialogue and calls for his resignation.

The anti-government movement has initiated protests since the presidential election, with hundreds of thousands of people taking part.

Most of the members of the council have since left the country under pressure from the authorities.

From her exile in neighboring Lithuania, Tikhanovskaya has orchestrated protests, met regularly with heads of state and government to drum up support, and is currently in the process of forming a government in exile.

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section Related topics
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

A local resident sits outside a building destroyed by Russian, Iranian-made, drones after an airstrike on Bila Tserkva, southwest of Kyiv, on October 5, 2022

Ukraine updates: US sends seized Russian cash to aid Ukraine

Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage