Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, whose re-election in a controversial poll final month led to weeks of mass protests, has been inaugurated for a sixth time period in an unannounced ceremony.
State media stated a number of hundred individuals attended the ceremony on the Independence Palace in central Minsk.
Streets had been blocked as Mr Lukashenko’s procession marched by town, witnesses stated.
An opposition politician likened the occasion to a “secret assembly of thieves”.
Presidential inaugurations are usually introduced properly prematurely as main state events.
As an alternative, the state-run Belta information company reported on Wednesday: “Alexander Lukashenko has taken workplace as President of Belarus. The inauguration ceremony takes place in these minutes on the Independence Palace.”
Lukashenko, who has dominated the previous Soviet republic for 26 years, stated Belarus wants safety and consensus “on the point of a worldwide disaster,” an obvious reference to the coronavirus pandemic, Belta reported.
“I can’t, I do not need the appropriate to desert the Belarusians,” he added.
Lukashenko buses in get together worshipers
Evaluation by Jonah Fisher, BBC Information
It wasn’t the assured inauguration of a person who really believes he has 80% of the nation behind him. The whole lot was supposed to keep away from a response from the general public.
There was no prior warning that the ceremony would happen, and even when the proceedings had been ongoing, there was no dwell broadcast on state tv or radio. An viewers of loyal officers had been transported by bus and it seems that there have been no overseas dignitaries. Not even the Russian ambassador was invited.
The Belarusian opposition instantly known as for additional protests. However there are legitimate questions in regards to the course of the protest motion in Belarus.
Though the anti-Lukashenko protests nonetheless collect massive crowds, particularly on weekends, they haven’t led to main cracks within the president’s help base. The safety forces and the navy are nonetheless steadfast, and occasions (like weekend rallies) that had been as soon as unimaginable and unprecedented are actually common and virtually routine.
It’s clear that Russia – Belarus’ most essential ally – regards President Lukashenko because the “least worst” possibility in the mean time. Though it stays the case, the Belarusian chief seems decided to disregard the protests and proceed.
How did the opposition react?
His fundamental political rival, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who fled to neighboring Lithuania amid mass arrests, stated Lukashenko “after at the moment is neither a authorized nor a reputable chief of Belarus”.
Opposition colleague Pavel Latushko posted on social media: “The place are the jubilant residents? The place is the diplomatic corps?”
“It’s apparent that Alexander Lukashenko is completely the chairman of the Omon (riot police) and a handful of misleading officers.”
He known as for “an indefinite motion of civil disobedience”.
Opposition channel Nexta Dwell on the Telegram messaging app known as for road protests from 6:00 p.m. native time (three:00 p.m. GMT) and urged drivers to dam roads and create site visitors jams.
“From that day he [Lukashenko] formally turns into a bandit and fraudster who will not be acknowledged wherever within the civilized world, ”the channel stated.
In the meantime, Lithuanian International Minister Linas Linkevicius known as the inauguration a “farce” and “illegitimate” on Twitter.
What’s the context?
Ms Tikhanovskaya claims to have received 60-70% in locations the place the votes had been appropriately counted.
Many opposition figures are actually in voluntary exile in neighboring international locations amid a wave of arrests.
Regardless of the crackdown, anti-government protests present no signal of abating. A crowd of round 100,00zero staged one other rally within the capital on Sunday demanding Lukashenko resign