The Belarusian law enforcement has managed to stabilize the situation in the country after the election, and the government has learnt to counter organizers of unsanctioned rallies, head of the Central Department for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption Nikolay Karpenkov stated in an interview with the "SB. Belarus Segodnya" newspaper published on Thursday.
"We have learnt to counter the organizers of unsanctioned rallies and halt their unlawful activity. There are definitely fewer people on the streets. However, those who come to the rallies, about 6,000-8,000 people are at the core of unrest," he noted. The official added that the protesters "will not simply leave." "I am sure that they were paid off, they have their own selfish aims, they have close ties to foreign organizers of mass protests. There is an extremist seed deep in this soil: the so-called demonstrators are being radicalized, they are arming themselves," Karpenkov said.
He noted that the president and the law enforcement "act mildly regarding the street rioters." "However, if there is an order to implement strict lawful measures against those violating the law and resisting, including with the use of arms, the law enforcement, we will establish order very quickly, in a matter of days," the agency head said, TASS reports.
The official reminded that the law enforcement has the right to use "special means, combat methods, non-lethal weapons and in separate cases where the employees’ lives are under threat, military-grade weapons."
Nationwide demonstrations have engulfed Belarus following the August 9 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. The current unrest is being cheered on by the opposition’s Coordination Council, which has been beating the drum for more protests. In response, the Belarusian authorities have castigated the ongoing turmoil and demanded that these unauthorized demonstrations be stopped.