Lukashenko claims foreigners behind Minsk opposition riots

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko claimed on Thursday that foreigners were behind the violent opposition protests in Minsk that followed the presidential elections on December 19.

More than 600 protesters including eleven Russians were detained following the protests, which were sparked after Lukashenko won a landslide to secure a fourth term in office. The opposition alleged vote rigging.

Police dispersed the demonstration when the crowd tried to storm parliament following the announcement of election results.

"Certain people, organizations and huge sums of money, not from our state, stood behind them [the ex-candidates for presidency]," Lukashenko said.

He claimed that the protests could have led to revolution and a coup d'etat. "You can't even imagine that a knot of outcasts could have captured the country... We could have woken up [after the riots] in a different country," Lukashenko said.

Lukashenko said the main achievement of 2010 was that the government and police managed to defend and save Belarus from the opposition.

"Neither Russia, nor Poland, nor Germany needs Belarus," Lukashenko said. "Nobody needs a state which sets itself up as successful and sovereign."

The Belarusian leader once again expressed readiness to cooperate with the West. "If they are ready to see Belarus in the center of Europe, than Belarus is ready for cooperation, but if they are looking for a reason to remain in confrontation, there also will always be a reason," Lukashenko said.

Lukashenko did not forget to slam the foreign political observers who came to monitor the presidential election. "We know the objective assessments of our election, and that they [the foreign observers] arrived in Belarus with the text [of assessment] written beforehand. I read this text a month before the election," he said.

The presidential election was conducted properly and in line with the country's legislation, Lukashenko claimed. "[The ill-wishers] just needed something to accuse us of," he said, adding that accusations of "mistreatment of the Belarusian opposition" were trumped up.

MINSK, December 30 (RIA Novosti)


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