Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya speaks in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Oct. 8, 2020.

RADOVAN STOKLASA/Reuters

Belarus said on Friday it is seeking the arrest of exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya for jeopardizing national security, days after she called for a general strike if the President does not yield to protesters' demands to quit.

Ahead of the next big weekly protest on Sunday, a senior police official said on television that officers would use firearms if needed against demonstrators, raising the stakes in the standoff over a country closely allied with Russia.

“We will, of course, humanely use weapons against them, including firearms, and we will remove the most dangerous [ones] from the streets,” said Nikolai Karpenkov, head of the police unit tasked with fighting organized crime and corruption.

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. Tsikhanouskaya fled to neighbouring Lithuania shortly after disputing the results of the Aug. 9 Berlarus presidential election which gave victory to long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko. She had challenged Mr. Lukashenko at the ballot box in place of her husband after he was arrested.

While her supporters have continued holding mass protests despite crackdowns by police and thousands of arrests, she has been urging European political leaders to mediate.

On Tuesday, Ms. Tsikhanouskaya set an Oct. 25 deadline for Mr. Lukashenko to quit or face nationwide strikes that would paralyze the country after the security forces first threatened to use combat weapons in the streets.

Ms. Tsikhanouskaya met for talks in Vilnius on Friday with Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne.

It was their fifth conversation but first face-to-face meeting since she sought refuge after rallying support against Lukashenko.

Champagne first called Tsikhanouskaya in August, and has since worked with his British counterpart, Dominic Raab to level sanctions against Lukashenko, his family and ministers in response to their violent clampdown on the pro-democracy movement that has taken root in Belarus.

Champagne said that Tsikhanouskaya told him Canada’s early support was “pivotal” in her efforts to keep fighting for democracy.

Story continues below advertisement

“It was a very special moment. Sometimes you do things and you don’t fully appreciate the impact,” Champagne said in a teleconference from Vilnius.

“I think she holds Canada and our intervention very high in her heart because we were there since Day 1, and we have been consistently engaging with her, engaging with the movement, supporting them at every step of the way.”

The Belarus Investigative Committee, a law enforcement agency, said it had put Ms. Tsikhanouskaya on its wanted list for publicly calling for actions seeking to harm national security.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda condemned the move and called on fellow members of the European Union to stand by her.

“Do hope that #EU countries will remain united & ignore this illegal warrant. #Tsikhanouskaya may be wanted in Belarus but #EU should keep all doors open for her,” he wrote on Twitter.

Security forces have detained more than 13,000 people during a postelection crackdown, some of whom have later been freed. Mr. Lukashenko’s key political opponents are either in jail or have fled abroad.

Story continues below advertisement

“This [move to put Ms. Tsikhanouskaya on the wanted list] doesn’t surprise anyone. It’s clear the regime has no legal ways of retaining power,” said Anna Krasulina, a spokeswoman for the opposition leader.

Mr. Lukashenko has proposed changing the constitution to resolve the political crisis in Belarus, an idea backed by Russia. But Mr. Lukashenko’s critics see the proposals as part of a stalling tactic to take the sting out of their protests.

-With a file from Canadian Press

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies