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22 Aug, 2020 18:33

Lukashenko asks public to forgive heavy-handed Belarusian cops who ‘made a mistake’ during violent anti-government protests

Lukashenko asks public to forgive heavy-handed Belarusian cops who ‘made a mistake’ during violent anti-government protests

At a rally in the western city of Grodno on Saturday, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko asked protesters to forgive police “if they made a mistake” and ordered striking factories to be shut down.

Speaking before a gathering of his supporters, Lukashenko also claimed that most images showing injuries caused by law enforcement officers are fake. “60 percent of pictures showing bruising are staged photos,” he said in his speech.

Also on rt.com Lukashenko calls Belarus protests ‘Color Revolution,’ accuses foreign countries of meddling

Belarus is currently in the midst of a political crisis caused by mass unrest following August 9’s disputed presidential election. According to the official vote tally, Lukashenko won 80 percent of the vote, with leading opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya being awarded just 10 percent. But the opposition says the ballot was rigged and Tikhanovskaya was the real winner.

In the aftermath of the election, tens of thousands of Belarusians took to the streets around the country to demand a free and fair contest, and some factory workers went on strike. Since the protests started, there have been numerous reports of protesters being attacked, and even videos showing the torture of detainees in jail. The Belarusian authorities also reported the death of three demonstrators.

Also on rt.com Belarus releases more than 2,000 people detained during mass protests

In the face of violence, Lukashenko urged his crowd to “forgive” the offending policemen, highlighting that they are a necessary part of keeping the country safe. “What will you do if you see a robbery on the street? Who will you call?” he asked. “Don't kill these people. These are your people. Even if they made a mistake somewhere, forgive them.”

Despite asking for the police to be forgiven, the Belarusian president made it clear he wasn’t willing to forgive the country’s striking workforce, and threatened to close factories from Monday. However, according to Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko, all are currently operating normally.

Also on rt.com Belarusian opposition leader Tikhanovskaya to meet with senior US State Department official – says Lukashenko will ‘have to leave’

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