Who attacked Belarusian government building?

As Poland calls in the Belarus ambassador to explain alleged police brutality in Minsk Sunday night, the European parliament is not excluding the possibility that protestors who attacked a government building may have actually been state militia.

Jerzy Buzek, president of the European parliament said today he is looking at the possibility that the attack on government buildings in Minsk, Sunday, was a provocation to discredit the opposition to the election of President Alexander Lukashenko.

Alexander Lukashenko, who the state election commission says won yesterday's presidential election with a vote share of nearly 80 percent, says the police broke up the demonstration - an action which put one opposition politician in hospital with head injuries - was called for after demonstrators tried to break in to the main government building.

Lukashenko praised police on Monday for protecting the capital from "barbarism and destruction" during demonstrations where protestors claimed yesterday's election was rigged.

Lukashenko called the opposition "banditry" and vowed, "there will be no revolution or criminality in Belarus."

President of the EP, Jerzy Buzek said this afternoon however that the European parliament investigation into the police action would include the possibility that the attempted break in was "a provocation" and done by militia and not protestors.

"We must also see if the demonstrators provoked the action," Buzek said, adding that whatever was the cause, "beating independent election candidates is unacceptable. The action was outrageous".

Belarus re-think

Poland's president, Bronislaw Komorowski said it was time for the EU to think again about its policies towards Belarus.

"I have asked Foreign Minister Sikorski [:..] to encourage the European Union, perhaps at the level of foreign ministers, to develop common principles and strategies when dealing with Belarus after these elections," said President Komorowski.

Poland's Foreign Ministry has called in the Belarusian ambassador to explain the circumstances which led to 639 being arrested in Minsk.

Leader of Poland's Senate, Bogdan Borusewicz, also called for a unified and direct response to the latest developments.

"If the regime in Minsk does not withdraw from repression, then we will have to take restrictive measures against the Belarusian authorities," he said.

The EU has been trying to draw Belarus closer to the west - as part of the Polish-led Eastern Partnership programme - and has promised aid if Lukashenko's often criticised human rights record improves.

"It is important that the EU's policy in relation to Belarus authorities is the same from all member states," he added. "The position should be uniform to avoid Minsk playing on our differences"

Government 'delusional'

"What we are dealing with here is totally unacceptable," said leader of the Law and Justice party (PiS) Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

"We appeal to the President of the Republic, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs to take all possible steps to ensure that the people arrested are released," he said.

Kaczynski said that there may be "far-reaching falsification" of the election results and that "President Lukashenko's regime should be isolated".

He also accused the government of being too soft on Lukashenko, after harassment of a Polish ethnic minority organisation.

"The policies of the current government - and I emphasise the role of Foreign Minister Sikorski in this - have been delusional and have suffered a complete defeat," Kaczynski said. (pg


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