Belarus president blames foreigners

MINSK, Belarus, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko blamed foreigners Thursday for the large demonstrations that followed his disputed re-election.

Lukashenko suggested his opponents had been financed by foreign governments, RIA Novosti reported. He suggested the protests were the first step in a coup aimed at overthrowing his government.

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

Lukashenko won a fourth term in a landslide Dec. 19 but the results have been widely disputed.

The president said foreign monitors arrived in Belarus before the election with their assessments of the voting already written.

"I read this text a month beforehand," he said.

More than 600 demonstrators, including 11 Russians, were arrested. Protesters tried to invade the Parliament building after the results came in.


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