Belarus unrest: Lukashenko steps up efforts to reassert control
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has stepped up efforts to reassert his control after 10 days of street protests and strikes triggered by disputed elections.
The official result gave him 80% of the vote but the opposition has denounced the poll as fraudulent.
Mr Lukashenko says he has given orders to end the unrest in the capital Minsk.
The move signalled an escalation just as European Union leaders held a virtual emergency summit on Belarus.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, made clear that the EU did not recognise the result of the election and called on Mr Lukashenko to release hundreds of protesters who have been imprisoned.
The man who has led Belarus since 1994 said he had ordered police to quell protests in Minsk. “There should no longer be any disorder in Minsk of any kind,” he told his security council.
“People are tired. People demand peace and quiet,” he added. He said he had ordered border controls to be tightened to prevent an influx of “fighters and arms”.
He also warned that workers at state media who had gone on strike in protest at the election and the subsequent crackdown on protests that they would not get their jobs back. Russian replacements have reportedly been brought in. Mr Lukashenko also accused those picketing outside factories of harassing workers.
He had earlier accused the opposition of “an attempt to seize power”.