Belarus opposition plans new Sunday demo

Belarus activist Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has urged people to take to the streets on Sunday.
Belarus activist Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has urged people to take to the streets on Sunday.

Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has called for renewed mass protests against President Alexander Lukashenko's secretive inauguration earlier this week.

"I support everyone who will go out onto the streets of their cities this Sunday," Tikhanovskaya said in a statement posted on the Telegram messaging network.

Belarusian opposition representatives allege that Tikhanovskaya, who came second in last month's presidential election according to the official tally, was actually the winner rather than Lukashenko.

"Together we can achieve our goal of new, honest elections and, as a result, an official, lawful inauguration," said Tikhanovskaya, a 38-year-old former language teacher who decided to run for president after her husband, a potential candidate, was jailed in the run-up to the election.

The European Union issued a statement this week renewing its claim that the August 9 election was "neither free nor fair" and that it would not recognise Lukashenko as president.

Lukashenko was inaugurated in a previously unannounced, private ceremony in Minsk on Wednesday.

Protests erupted throughout the country as the event was revealed to the public.

Hundreds of protesters were detained.

There have been protests in Belarus every day since the disputed election on allegations that the voting was rigged to maintain Lukashenko's grip on power.

Lukashenko, 66, has led Belarus for 26 years, tolerating little dissent.

Australian Associated Press