MINSK, October 24. /TASS/. The US embassy to Belarus has released recommendations for the Americans in Minsk and the rest of Belarus to maintain supplies of food and cash and to avoid mass gatherings in connection with the "People’s Ultimatum" declared by former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the embassy posted a security alert on its site on Saturday.
"Last week, a ‘People’s Ultimatum’ was declared calling for the Government of Belarus to meet certain demands by the deadline of October 25. As part of the ultimatum, if demands were not met, consequences were also announced (protests, strikes, blocking traffic, and other measures). Considering the ultimatum, security forces and protesters might escalate their use of force during protests, demonstrations, rallies, and other similar large gatherings," the embassy said.
"The Embassy encourages US citizens to avoid public demonstrations, to remain aware of their surroundings, and that gatherings intended to be peaceful can quickly become confrontational and escalate into violence. Furthermore, these activities may cause disruptions to public transportation services, traffic delays and/or street closures, and an increased police presence around rally sites," the diplomats warned.
The embassy advises the US citizens to "maintain at least a three-day supply of food, water, medications, cash and other essential items for emergency use."
Tikhanovskaya said earlier that if the Belarusian government fails to meet the opposition’s demands by October 25, including Alexander Lukashenko’s resignation, on October 26 the current president’s opponents will be allegedly able to organize strikes on enterprises, block roads and call on their supporters not to buy goods at state-owned stores.
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.