RIGA, August 31. /TASS/. The Latvian Foreign Ministry banned Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and 29 more Belarusian officials from entering the country in light of developments that followed the recent presidential election; Lithuanian and Estonian authorities had taken similar measures, the Baltic states said Monday.
"Based on the decision of the Latvian cabinet of ministers and in coordination with foreign ministries of Estonia and Lithuania, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics decided to indefinitely ban entry to Latvia for 30 officials of Belarus," the Latvian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"By imposing sanctions, we demonstrate our serious attitude to human rights violations in Belarus," Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu noted. In turn, Vilnius pointed out that the Department of Migration under the Interior Ministry added the names of the Belarusian officials to the list of foreigners who are not allowed to enter the country.
Belarus held the presidential election on August 9. According to the Central Election Commission, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko secured his reelection with 80.10% of the votes, while his key rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya came second with 10.12%. She rejected the results and later fled to neighboring Lithuania. Amid this background, the country plunged into mass protests, as people challenged the official results. In the first few days, demonstrations were coupled with clashes with the police. The recently created Coordination Council of the Belarusian opposition is urging people to keep protesting. Meanwhile, authorities say that unlawful rallies need to stop.