On Wednesday, several dozen Belarusians gathered outside the country’s embassy in Lithuania to protest against Alexander Lukashenko’s secret inauguration.
Anastasia Markevich, a Belarusian studying in Lithuania, described the inauguration as absurd, saying she does not consider Lukashenko a legitimate leader.
“I think it’s absurd. We don’t consider Lukashenko a legitimate president. I don’t think today’s inauguration was legitimate,” said Markevich, while she held a poster supporting Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the leading opposition candidate in the August 9 presidential election.
Protesters set up several stands with photographs of police violence during the crackdown in Belarus and lit candles. Some passing cars honked in support.
“Lukashenko is a dictator, and the inauguration is a farce; it was organised secretly,” Aleksey Tyoply told BNS. “All those in power must be replaced, not only the president.”
Yulia Rasatneva, another protester, said she believes Belarusians will achieve a free and democratic election.
“There’s a good Lithuanian word, nesamonė [nonsense],” she said. “I can’t even describe in words what I’m thinking about this situation, but I believe that Belarusians will stand up for their freedom.”
Lukashenko has faced unprecedented protests after claiming a landslide victory in the August 9 presidential election.
The authoritarian leader, who has ruled Belarus since 1994, was inaugurated for a sixth term as president on Wednesday.
The inauguration ceremony, whose date had not been announced, took place in the Palace of Independence in Minsk.