About 650 criminal cases were opened in Belarus on the facts of riots and protest actions, 70 of them have already been sent to courts, Prosecutor General of Belarus Andrei Shved said in an interview with Belarus 1 TV channel.
"At the beginning of October, about 400 criminal cases were initiated on the facts of mass riots, violent actions against law enforcement officers and officials. In mid-October there are already more than 500 of them [cases]. Today we are talking about 657 criminal cases," he said.
"This practice will continue, everyone who has infringed on life, health, public safety will be convicted. And sentenced to maximum terms of imprisonment," Shved warned.
According to him, the significant increase in the number of criminal cases initiated is "an indicator of the radicalization of what is happening in our society." "The whole movement that is presented to us as peaceful has long ceased to be peaceful. In fact, there is a war going on, a war that has taken extremely radical forms in the past few weeks," TASS quoted him as saying.
Belarus held its presidential election on August 9. According to the Central Election Commission’s data, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko received 80.1% of the vote. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who garnered 10.12%, refused to recognize the election’s results and left Belarus. Protests erupted in the country's capital of Minsk and several other cities following the presidential vote, leading to clashes between protesters and law enforcement officers.
The deadline for the opposition-led People’s Ultimatum expired on Sunday, October 25, put forward by now exiled, former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya to President Alexander Lukashenko. The demands included the resignation of the incumbent president, the release of political prisoners and an end to violence. The opposition called on workers at industrial enterprises to go on strike starting Monday, October 26, if these demands are not met.