Belarusians should have the 'freedoms that they are demanding': Pompeo

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Aug 12, 2020, 05.56 PM(IST)

Pompeo on day two of central European trip Photograph:( Reuters )

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He was visiting Prague as part of a European tour that will also take him to Austria, Slovenia and Poland.

Belarusians should be given "the freedoms that they are demanding", US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday, urging authorities in the former Soviet republic not to harm protesters.

"We want the people of Belarus to have the freedoms that they are demanding... We urge that the non-violent protesters be protected, not harmed," Pompeo told reporters during a visit to Prague.

He was speaking alongside Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who called the events in Belarus "shocking" after a third night of protests following a disputed election in which President Alexander Lukashenko won a sixth term.

Also see: Water cannons, tear gas, stun grenades: Protesters clash with Belarus police after election results

He was visiting Prague as part of a European tour that will also take him to Austria, Slovenia and Poland.

The agenda for the trip includes countering Chinese company Huawei's role in 5G network construction, as well as energy security and US troop deployments in the region.

Police in Belarus detained around 3,000 people at protests that erupted on Sunday following the presidential election, the Belarusian Interior Ministry said on Monday.

President Alexander Lukashenko won a landslide re-election victory, the central election commission said earlier, after bloody clashes between riot police and thousands of protesters who said the poll was rigged.

Belarusian opposition politician Svetlana Tikhanouskaya fled to Lithuania from Belarus amid the protests to protect herself and her family, Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said.

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