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11 Aug, 2020 10:38

‘Not a single life is worth what’s happening now’: Opposition leader Tikhanovskaya says she left Belarus of her own accord

‘Not a single life is worth what’s happening now’: Opposition leader Tikhanovskaya says she left Belarus of her own accord

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya says it was her own decision to leave Belarus for Lithuania, supporting the claim by the Belarusian authorities that she departed from the country voluntarily.

In a video message, she said the decision had been “very hard” for her, but she hadn’t been pressured into making the choice.

“I made this decision absolutely on my own. No one – not friends, not family, not the campaign HQ [influenced me],” she said, adding that she would probably face criticism and “hate” for leaving Belarus for Lithuania. She said she thought the election had made her stronger, but still felt like a “weak woman.”

May God keep you from ever having to be faced with the decision that I was faced with. So, people, please take care of yourselves. Not a single life is worth what is happening now … Children are the most important thing that we have in our lives.

In another video, the opposition leader called on her supporters to “be reasonable and respect the law,” so as to avoid “blood and violence.”

I am asking you not to oppose the police, not to go out on to the squares so as not to risk your lives. Take care of yourselves and your relatives.

Her campaign staff initially claimed that she had been forced to leave by the Belarusian authorities. “She was taken out of the country by the authorities. Svetlana had no choice. Five minutes before the visit, we discussed our future plans and she was certainly not intending to leave the country,” a campaign member said. Belarus denied that Tikhanovskaya was forced out.

Lithuania’s foreign minister announced on Tuesday morning that Tikhanovskaya had arrived in the Baltic nation and was “safe,” and Belarusian border officials confirmed she had departed from their country. 

Also on rt.com Belarusian opposition leader Tikhanovskaya ‘safe’ in Lithuania, says Baltic country’s FM

The opposition candidate had called for the country’s election to be voided, after disputing the results, which had declared incumbent Aleksandr Lukashenko the victor, with nearly 80 percent of the vote. The protests that erupted in the aftermath of the election have reportedly led to one confirmed death as well as 3,000 arrests so far. 

Concerns about Tikhanovskaya’s safety emerged after the Belarusian security services claimed they had intercepted a threat against her life. However, representatives of her campaign denied they had sought protection from the police.

Lukashenko has blamed the Czech Republic, Great Britain, and Poland for fueling the unrest in Minsk and other cities. Prague and Warsaw have denied the accusation.

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