A detained Belarus opposition chief prevented officers from forcibly expelling her on the border by tearing up her passport and throwing it out of the automotive window, colleagues travelling together with her say.
On Monday Maria Kolesnikova had been compelled right into a van by masked males.
She is one among three ladies who joined forces to problem President Alexander Lukashenko in August’s election.
Mass protests erupted after the disputed vote.
“She was pushed into the again seat (of the automotive), she yelled that she wasn’t going wherever,” Ms Kolesnikova’s colleague Anton Rodnenkov informed a information convention within the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on Tuesday.
Mr Rodnenkov mentioned he and a colleague had been taken to the border with Ms Kolesnikova however she refused to cross. The 2 males informed journalists they didn’t know the place she was now.
Earlier on Tuesday, officers in Belarus had claimed that Maria Kolesnikova was detained whereas attempting to cross into Ukraine.
In the meantime, in an interview with Russian media on Tuesday, Mr Lukashenko insisted he wouldn’t step down from energy.
Dozens of individuals have been arrested on Tuesday in contemporary protests within the capital, Minsk. In current weeks hundreds have confronted violence and threats of arrest in demonstrations towards Mr Lukashenko, who has dominated the nation since 1994.
The EU has demanded the release of all political prisoners and says it’s planning to impose sanctions.
Ms Kolesnikova is the final of three ladies main the opposition to Mr Lukashenko to stay inside Belarus.
The primary opposition chief, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, says she gained 60-70% of the ballot in locations the place votes have been correctly counted. She fled to Lithuania after she was detained in August.
What occurred to Maria Kolesnikova?
On Monday, witnesses noticed masked males seize Ms Kolesnikova on a avenue in central Minsk and push her right into a minibus.
Then, on Tuesday, she and opposition colleagues Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov have been taken to the nation’s border with Ukraine by males in plain garments, Mr Rodnenov says.
However when the automotive reached a checkpoint between the 2 international locations, Ms Kolesnikova prevented her deportation by tearing up her passport and throwing away the items, he mentioned.
“She climbed, climbed from the automotive and she or he walked proudly to Belarusian territory,” Mr Kravtsov mentioned, including: “She’s actually a hero. You will need to perceive that. She’s very devoted to what she’s doing now.”
What did Mr Lukashenko say?
Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Lukashenko informed Russian reporters that Ms Kolesnikova had been held for “violating the foundations on crossing the state border”.
In a sit-down interview, the long-term chief was quoted as saying he wouldn’t step down.
He conceded that some Belarusians could be “fed up” together with his rule however he was adamant that he would not go away workplace, in response to the journalists..
He asserted that he was the one one who may “defend” Belarus.
Alexander Lukashenko calls Vladimir Putin “massive brother” on this interview and he is more and more depending on Russia for help. However his feedback reveal a confidence that Moscow wants him, too.
“You understand what we agreed with the Russian institution and management?” he requested the panel of Russian state TV reporters on the sofas earlier than him. “That if Belarus breaks, Russia can be subsequent.”
Again me up, Mr Lukashenko gave the impression to be saying to Moscow, and your personal individuals will not get any unhealthy concepts about ousting a long-standing chief via in style protests.
As common, he claimed the unrest in Belarus was fomented by hostile exterior forces, primarily America, through the web.
However with opposition to his rule sturdy and protracted, Mr Lukashenko is now closely reliant on his safety forces.
So he had a message for them too. If I’m going, he argued, the riot police can be “slaughtered, torn to items. And what have they executed fallacious?”
Mr Lukashenko has twice appeared brandishing a gun throughout mass protests towards his rule, and he informed the reporters it was meant to point out he had not fled.
He has accused Western powers of interference and is anticipated to go to Moscow “within the coming days” amid claims by Lithuania that he’s planning deeper integration with Russia.
What has occurred to the three ladies in opposition?
Of the three ladies who joined forces within the election towards the Belarusian chief, solely Maria Kolesnikova remains to be within the nation.
She was initially the marketing campaign supervisor for presidential candidate Viktor Barbaryko however after his arrest in June she determined to work with Veronika Tsepkalo and Svetlana Tikhanovskaya,
Ms Tikhanovskaya solely determined to run within the election after her husband was arrested and barred from standing. She was compelled to depart Belarus for Lithuania the day after the vote, having been detained for a number of hours.
Ms Tsepkalo has travelled to Poland together with her husband, Valery, and youngsters. Mr Tsepkalo, the previous Belarusian ambassador to the US, was additionally barred from standing towards President Lukashenko.
One other feminine activist, Olga Kovalkova, introduced on Saturday she had fled to Poland amid threats of imprisonment.
“I am the one one of many three of us who remains to be right here,” Ms Kolesnikova informed BBC Russian in an interview final month. “To grasp precisely what is going on on, you actually should be right here.”
Ms Kolesnikova described the current demonstrations as “not a wrestle for energy” however “a wrestle for human dignity and self-respect”. She mentioned she and her staff had determined towards utilizing bodyguards.
“No variety of guards can be of any use if a bus filled with riot police stopped us,” she mentioned. “Everyone knows what a police state is able to.”