SOCHI, September 14. /TASS/. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has stated that during protests in his country the opposition has not yet overstepped the boundaries of acceptable actions.
"On Saturday and Sunday we are clearing up a part of Minsk so people can, if they wish, walk along that part," Lukashenko said during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin meaning the protest rallies of the opposition. "The main thing, I keep saying this - not to cross the line," he added.
Lukashenko reiterated how Russian authorities had to react to manifestations of extremism in North Caucasus at the end of the 1990 and the beginning of the 2000. "God forbid, of course, this [should happen] to Belarusians. Yet nevertheless there are certain red lines that nobody has the right to cross," the Belarusian President noted. "So far those red lines haven’t been violated by anyone," he stated.
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’s Coordination Council, 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.