Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus
Ministry of Foreign Affairs' comments regarding the reaction of European institutions, some of the EU countries and policymakers on the events on March 25: "First of all, I would like to note that citizens’ right to peaceful assembly and to freedom of opinion and expression is embodied in the Constitution of our country. However, the keyword here is “peaceful”. When “Molotov cocktails” and cars with weapons are brought to the location of the event together with the involvement of black bloc, there is no way such manifestation can be called “peaceful”. That is the first.
Secondly, in the face of escalation and geographical expansion of terrorist threat, authorities should be particularly security-conscious and act proactively instead of “cleaning up” the consequences afterwards. That is the lesson we learned from recent terrorist attacks in London, Berlin, Paris, Brussels, Nice, etc. That’s the notion Belarusian authorities was guided by. The main goal was to ensure security of our citizens and prevent bloodshed, especially taking into account the existing information on the preparation of provocations.
Thirdly, yesterday’s event was not authorized. Participation in an unauthorized manifestation has certain ramifications in any country in the world. What so “un-European” saw Western politicians in the actions of our law-enforcement authorities? Were water cannons used to disperse demonstrations in Minsk? Was tear gas used? Thanks God, no. It went without victims.
Actions of the law-enforcement agencies were absolutely adequate. In order to be consistent, European institutions and policymakers should express “concern” over numerous arrests on the eve of the celebration of the anniversary of the Treaty of Rome on March, 25th, and active usage of water cannons, tear gas and other non-lethal devices to disperse demonstrations in European capitals. Perhaps, it is easier by force of habit to put Belarus “under microscope” whilst turning a blind eye to the fact that sanctioned demonstrations on the same day went without any incidents in a number of cities of our country.
We believe that it is necessary to continue dialogue and cooperation with our foreign partners to reach better understanding of the stances of one another."
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