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  • Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya addresses media representatives during a press conference at The Lithuanian Permanent Representation in Brussels on 21 September 2020. Picture: AFP

    EU ministers welcome Belarus opposition leader

    The former Soviet republic has been convulsed by unprecedented demonstrations against President Alexander Lukashenko since he was returned to power in a disputed 9 August election - and those protests have been brutally repressed.

  • Belarusian servicemen block a street during an opposition supporters rally protesting against disputed presidential elections results in Minsk on 30 August 2020. Tens of thousands of opposition supporters marched through Minsk on 30 August calling for an end to strongman Alexander Lukashenko's rule amid a heavy security presence and despite dozens of arrests. Picture: AFP

    UN steps up pressure over Belarus violence

    UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said there were hundreds of allegations of torture or ill-treatment, including of children, stemming from the response to protests over the disputed re-election of Lukashenko as president of Belarus.

  •  Maria Kolesnikova helped spearhead a protest movement after strongman Alexander Lukashenko claimed to have defeated political novice Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and won re-election with 80% of the vote last month. Picture: AFP

    Belarus opposition figure urges probe into 'abduction

    In extracts from a statement she gave to lawyers from a Minsk jail, Maria Kolesnikova said officers from the KGB security service and organised crime police abducted her and pressured her to leave with threats of violence.

  • Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko addresses employees of the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant (MZKT), in Minsk, on 17 August 2020. Picture: AFP

    Belarusian leader Lukashenko replaces security chiefs

    Retaining the loyalty of the security forces, who have helped him crack down hard on the protests over his 9 August election visctory, is vital to Lukashenko as he tries to navigate the most serious challenge to his 26 years in power.