Protest against closer integration with Russia
11 months ago
(7 Dec 2019) More than 1,000 demonstrators rallied in Minsk to protest Belarus’ closer integration with Russia.
Saturday’s protest in the Belarusian capital was held as President Alexander Lukashenko met with with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Russia’s Black Sea coast.
The two presidents were discussing economic agreements intended to bring the two ex-Soviet neighbours and allies even closer.
During the demonstration, protesters clashed with security forces in front of a government building.
The protesters who chanted “no to integration” and “Belarus to Europe”, fear that closer ties with Russia could erode the post-Soviet independence of the nation of 10 million.
Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus with an iron fist for more than a quarter-century, relies on cheap Russian energy and loans to maintain a Soviet-style economy.
The Kremlin has cranked up pressure on Belarus, raising energy prices and cutting subsidies, but Lukashenko vowed not to surrender Belarus’ post-Soviet independence.
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