17 Nov 2020
The European Union threatened to add sanctions against Belarus over the “outrageous” death of a 31-year-old man died following his detention by the police in the capital, Minsk.
Raman Bandarenka was taken away by police on Wednesday following a clash between locals hanging ribbons on a park fence in support of the opposition, and a group tearing them down, news website Tut.by reported, citing unidentified eye witnesses. An hour and a half later he was hospitalized, and he died Thursday evening, according to the site.
“This is an outrageous and shameful result of the actions by the Belarusian authorities,” the European Union’s diplomatic service said in a statement Friday. “The European Union has already imposed sanctions on 55 individuals responsible for violent repression and intimidation, and stands ready to impose additional sanctions.”
The country’s Investigative Committee said Bandarenka was injured during the fight.
The death threatens to escalate a standoff between the authorities and the protesters that has continued since President Alexander Lukashenko claimed to win by a landslide on Aug. 9 in a vote the opposition says was rigged. The opposition has called for a national minute of silence Friday and for people to attend Sunday protests that regularly attract over 100,000 people in Minsk. Police crackdowns have intensified in recent weeks damping the size of the weekend meetings.
By Jake Rudnitsky, Bloomberg, 13 November 2020
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