The situation in Belarus is very tense, says Latvia’s ambassador Einars Semanis. The ambassador stresses that wide protests, especially among young people, broke out after presidential elections. In their heads, this is a way to signal to Belarusian government that they do not believe official election results.
“During these protests, unfortunately, we have seen episodes when OMON and the police used excessive force against peaceful protesters. It is officially confirmed that two people have died,” says the ambassador.
Clashes between the two sides are very serious. There are many detained persons as well, stresses Semanis. It is mentioned the number of detained persons has reached 6 000. Around 200 protesters have been hospitalized.
Answering the question how local mass media outlets inform residents about the situation in the country, Semanis said state and radio channels reflect the political and economic processes from the perspective of the president’s administration and government.
State media reflect the government’s vision on the necessary activities and recommendations for citizens and state institutions. This is particularly true for specialized television programmes like Editors’ Club and Comprehensive Politics, explains the ambassador.
When asked if he feels threatened in Belarus, the ambassador said no. During the day the situation is calm and stable. Protests mostly take place in the evening and night hours.
As for the embassy’s work, he said employees of the institutions follow development in Belarus very carefully. Latvia’s ambassador attends meetings of EU ambassadors in Minsk, which are, according to him, professionally managed by the head of the EU delegation, ambassador Dirk Schuebel. During these meetings, EU diplomats discuss developments in Belarus and perform coordination of different important activities.
EU ambassadors have met with presidential candidates and members of their teams. A meeting was held with Maria Kolesnikova. The embassy, addressing Belarusian Foreign Affairs Ministry, voiced support towards the release of Medusa correspondent Maksim Solopov. In regards to consular work, the ambassador said the embassy has published an invitation for Latvian citizens in Belarus to be careful in crowded locations.
Semanis believes Latvia’s government and other EU member states have taken an active and responsible stance. Preparations are being made for the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, where the situation in Belarus will be one of the topics for discussion.
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