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Belarusian opposition calls on Interior Minister to resign

Belarusian opposition plans to create a political movement

MINSK, August 29. /TASS/. The Coordination Council of the Belarusian opposition has called on the republic’s Internal Affairs Minister, Yuri Karaev, either to resign or to turn himself in, Maria Kolesnikova, a member of the presidium of the Coordination Council said during a live broadcast on YouTube on Saturday.

"Mister Karaev, on August 13, on the air of Belarusian television, you took responsibility for those who were roughed up. Death of people, violence, unprecedented cruelty and torture of civilians - we all saw this. <...> If you take responsibility for those events, you have two options - you either resign, or you must turn yourself in," she said.

The opposition in Belarus announced plans to create its own political movement in the country.

"We plan to create a movement," Maria Kolesnikova, a member of the presidium of the opposition Coordination Council, said on Saturday in a live broadcast on YouTube. She was responding to a question about the possibility of forming a political party.

According to her, the members of the council "will return to this issue."

"But it is very important to understand that now it has been 20 years, since not a single new party was registered in the country. This suggests that the mechanisms for creating a party and its registration most likely do not work or work very poorly, just like all other laws we have," she said. Kolesnikova also stressed that members of the Coordination Council of the opposition of Belarus work for free.

"None of us has ever received money for what we do," she said, adding that the council members work as volunteers.

Kolesnikova stressed that the council never asked the West for funding.

"We learned from media about 53 million [euros] that the EU representatives spoke about, but we did not ask for it," she said.

Belarus held its presidential election on August 9. According to the Central Election Commission, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko received 80.1% of the vote, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya garnered 10.12%. She refused to recognize the election’s results, left Belarus and is currently in Lithuania. Protests erupted in the country's capital of Minsk and several other cities following the presidential vote, leading to clashes between protesters and law enforcement officers. In the early days of protests, there were clashes with law enforcement officers. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, more than 6,000 people were detained, several dozen law enforcement officers and protesters were injured.