Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, whose re-election in a disputed poll closing month led to weeks of mass protests, has been inaugurated for a sixth period of time in an unannounced ceremony.
Command media acknowledged several hundred of us attended the ceremony on the Palace of Independence in central Minsk.
Streets were sealed off as Mr Lukashenko’s motorcade raced through the metropolis, witnesses acknowledged.
One opposition politician likened the match to a secret “thieves’ assembly”.
Presidential inaugurations are in general publicised neatly in advance as fundamental reveal instances.
As a replace, reveal news company Belta reported on Wednesday: “Alexander Lukashenko has taken reveal of labor as President of Belarus. The inauguration ceremony is taking reveal in these minutes in the Palace of Independence.”
Mr Lukashenko, who has dominated the outdated Soviet republic for 26 years, acknowledged Belarus mandatory security and consensus “getting able to a global disaster”, an obvious reference to the coronavirus pandemic, Belta reported.
“I will not, I invent no longer personal any authorized to desert the Belarusians,” he added.
Lukashenko busses in the celebration unswerving
Prognosis by Jonah Fisher, BBC News
This was as soon as no longer the confident inauguration of a one who for budge believes he has 80% of the country in the back of him. The entirety about it was as soon as geared in opposition to warding off a public response.
There was as soon as no prior warning that the ceremony would happen, and even when complaints were below intention there were no live declares on reveal television or radio. An viewers of staunch officers was as soon as bussed in and there appear to were no international dignitaries. No longer even the Russian ambassador was as soon as invited.
Belarus’s opposition straight called for unique demonstrations. Nevertheless there are precise questions about where Belarus’s train circulation is going.
Though the anti-Lukashenko demonstrations mute muster expansive crowds, critically on the weekend, they personal no longer led to fundamental fissures in the president’s make stronger spoiled. The protection forces and navy are mute staunch and events (admire the weekend rallies) that were as soon as impossible and unparalleled are now customary and practically routine.
It’s obvious that Russia – Belarus’ most main ally – sees President Lukashenko as the “least worse” possibility in the meanwhile. While that continues to be the case Belarus’s chief appears to be like certain to ignore the protests and carry on.
How has the opposition reacted?
His fundamental political rival, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who fled to neighbouring Lithuania amid mass arrests, acknowledged Mr Lukashenko “after this day is neither a authorized nor a sound head of Belarus”.
Fellow opposition politician Pavel Latushko posted on social media: “The place are the happy electorate? The place is the diplomatic corps?”
“It’s obvious that Alexander Lukashenko is solely the president of the Omon (riot police) and a handful of mendacity officers.”
He called for “an indefinite circulation of civil disobedience”.
The opposition Nexta Are living channel on the Telegram messaging app called for boulevard protests from 18: 00 native time (15: 00 GMT) and suggested drivers to dam roads and assemble visitors jams.
“Starting from this very day, he [Lukashenko] formally becomes a bandit and fraudster who’s not any longer recognised wherever in the civilised world,” the channel acknowledged.
In the meantime, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius described the inauguration as a “farce” and “illegitimate” on Twitter.
What’s the background?
Mr Lukashenko, 66, claimed a sixth period of time as president in the extensively disputed election of 9 August. He insisted that he had won quite with 80% of the vote and depicted the protests against him as a Western-backed place of residing. Earlier this month, he secured a $1.5bn (£1.2bn) loan from Russia.
Ms Tikhanovskaya claims to personal won 60-70% in places where votes were correctly counted.
Many opposition figures are now in self-imposed exile in neighbouring countries amid a wave of arrests.
Despite the crackdown, anti-govt protests repeat no indicators of diminishing. On Sunday, a crowd of about 100,000 of us staged one other rally in the capital, anxious that Mr Lukashenko step down