MINSK, October 27. /TASS/. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday that protest demonstrators had stepped over the "red line" in many respects, the BelTA news agency reports.
"You may remember my statement, when I said that we must work scrupulously, although this is a very dramatic period, with all those protesters wandering the streets," Lukashenko said at a conference on preparations for the 6th Belarusian People's Congress.
"Nevertheless, we stated the hard fact that the remaining protesters had turned more radical. We see very clearly the organizers and those who act on these ideas," Lukashenko said.
"I said then that we must work scrupulously, because they have not stepped over the "red line" yet. The past few days indicate, though, that in many respects they have stepped over this "red line," Lukashenko said.
He warned that Belarus was beginning to confront terrorist threats. According to the Belarusian authorities, radically-minded protesters intentionally damaged railroad equipment, which might have caused accidents and casualties. Lukashenko said that when the "red line" is stepped over, the authorities must react. He stressed the need for putting an end to what he described as a "terrorist war" against Belarus.
The deadline for the opposition-led People’s Ultimatum expired on Sunday, October 25, put forward by now exiled, former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya to President Alexander Lukashenko. The demands included the resignation of the incumbent president, the release of political prisoners and an end to violence. The opposition called on workers at industrial enterprises to go on strike starting Monday, October 26, if these demands are not met.
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.