Belarus law enforcement authorities continue to arrest and beat protestors in a continued attempt to suppress protests against the newly elected President Alexander Lukashenko.
The Opposition party together with pro-democracy civilians have marched throughout the capital city of Minsk decrying a rigged election where Lukashenko supposedly won with 80% majority. Last month EU rejected Belarus rigged election and started preparing a sanctions list against authoritative figures involved in human rights violations and violated democratic values. Yet, one would argue, Is this enough? Lukashenko seems desperate to remain in power and even is seeking Russia’s help in maintain order and de-escalate protests.
Protests and violence show no signs of fading away and thus one could not help but have a feeling of deja-vu and draw parallels from last decade when protests started in Syria amidst Arab spring protests. President Bashar al-Assad used violent force against the populace he was supposed to protect and sought military support from President Putin. The rest, as they say, is history.
A repeat of Syria in Belarus is surely not ideal since this time it hits in mainland Europe and will prove much more difficult for European countries to sweep under the rug. Sanctions might not be enough and skilled diplomacy is very much needed from the west. Obviously, as history has repeatedly showed, when chaos erupts, superpower countries take sides in making sure their political ideals will avail. Not taking sides means that you are leaving fate to decide on which side of the coin you will end up. EU and Russia should sit together with Belarus government and opposition to discuss the way forward and avoid another potential disaster like Syria.
image credit : timesofisrael.com