‘Tightening The Screws’: Belarus’ Lukashenko Shows No Sign Of Bending To Protests

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko appears to be regaining the upper hand after mass demonstrations against his reelection in an Aug. 9 vote criticized as neither free nor fair by the U.S. and the European Union.

For opposition supporters, a sense of dread is replacing the euphoria of some of the largest protests in Belarus since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

“The government is now tightening the screws very tightly, and it’s becoming quite dangerous,” said Yelena, 44, a volunteer in the campaign office of Viktor Babariko, one of Lukashenko’s challengers in the election who was barred from running and jailed on fraud charges.

“This week people continued to go out on the street, despite all the threats and warnings that they would be arrested,” said Yelena, who asked that her last name not be used because she faces persecution as an opposition activist.

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