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Russia concerned about ongoing unrest in Belarus, says Lavrov

According to Russia’s top diplomat, the Belarusian authorities made it clear they were ready for dialogue, proposing a constitutional reform

MOSCOW, November 12. /TASS/. Moscow is concerned about the ongoing unrest in Belarus after the presidential election but notes with satisfaction that the number of protesters is dwindling, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday in an interview with Russian and foreign media.

"If we evaluate the overall situation [in Belarus], we are, of course, concerned about the fact that unrest continues there, although we are satisfied that these protests are fading away. The number of participants in unauthorized protests is dwindling, as far as I understand," he said answering a question from TASS.

Lavrov noted that from 3,000 to 5,000 people had taken part in protests on Sunday, while earlier more than 100,000 people took to the streets to join protesters. "This decrease in mass activity, apparently, reflects the understanding by those people who sincerely took to the streets and wanted to be heard that it is necessary to calm the unrest and go over to constructive dialogue," he said.

According to Russia’s top diplomat, the Belarusian authorities made it clear they were ready for dialogue, proposing a constitutional reform.

Nationwide demonstrations have engulfed Belarus following the August 9 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. The current unrest is being cheered on by the opposition, which has been beating the drum for more protests. In response, the Belarusian authorities have castigated the ongoing turmoil and demanded that these unauthorized demonstrations be stopped.