Taoiseach expresses Ireland's solidarity with people of Belarus 'in pursuit of democracy'

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Taoiseach Expresses Ireland's Solidarity With People Of Belarus 'In Pursuit Of Democracy'
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Digital Desk staff

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has spoken with Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya to express Ireland’s solidarity with the people of her country who are currently protesting for a fair election.

It comes as Ms Tikhanovskaya ran against incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko who many refer to as “Europe’s last dictator” and was forced to flee the country after he claimed 80 per cent of the vote in a result condemned by the European Union.

Ms Tikhanovskaya has close links to Ireland, having spent many childhood summers living with an Irish family in Roscrea, Co Tipperary as one of the “Chernobyl children” provided with recuperation as their health was impacted by 1986 nuclear disaster in neighbouring Ukraine.

Had a warm phonecall with Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya to express Ireland’s solidarity with the...

Posted by merrionstreet.ie on Monday, August 24, 2020

Mr Martin said he had a “warm” phone call with Ms Tikhanovskaya “to express Ireland’s solidarity with the people of Belarus in pursuit of democracy and human rights.”

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A piece of her heart and soul will always be in Ireland and she remembers with gratitude Ireland’s help down through the years.

The Taoiseach said that Ms Tikhanovskaya said “a piece of her heart and soul will always be in Ireland and she remembers with gratitude Ireland’s help down through the years.”

Ms Tikhanovskaya was catapulted into the global political spotlight after entering the Belarusian presidential race in the place of her husband, a popular vlogger, after he was jailed by authorities in the country earlier this year.

The English-teacher turned politician refused to accept the result of the Belarusian election and said she made the “difficult” decision to flee to Lithuania for her children, following two nights of violent protests in Belarus amid allegations of vote-rigging.

Protests demanding the resignation of the current president are currently continuing in the country, with authorities having recently detained three leading opposition activists who helped spearhead the demonstrations.

The move signals President Alexander Lukashenko’s determination to stifle the massive demonstrations that have entered their third week, following Sunday’s demonstration in Minsk which drew an estimated 200,000 people.

The protests were galvanised by a brutal post-election crackdown, which saw nearly 7,000 people detained and hundreds injured after police dispersed peaceful protesters with rubber bullets, stun grenades and clubs.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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