Belarus’ leader helicopters over Minsk with a rifle
; as protesters below demand his resignation
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko responded to huge anti-government protests and calls for his resignation by posting video of himself flying over Minsk in riot gear, with a rifle hanging from his shoulder.
As mass demonstrations over a contested presidential election enter a third week in Belarus, tens of thousands of people gathered in the capital and across the country at the weekend to demanding change and a new presidential poll.
While Sunday’s protest was winding down in Minsk, Lukashenko’s press service recorded and posted a series of bizarre videos in which the strongman leader inspected the city from a helicopter, wearing an all-black uniform and a bulletproof vest.
“They ran away like rats,” Lukashenko said as the aircraft approached one of his Minsk residencies, the Palace of Independence.
In another video, he is seen stepping out of a helicopter at the palace with a Kalashnikov-style rifle in his hands. Accompanied by armed soldiers and his 15-year-old son Kolya, also armed and wearing a military uniform, the group appears to thank riot police who formed a barricade on the avenue leading to the residence during the protests.