Poles must aid Belarusians in their struggle: PM

Poles must aid the Belarusians in their difficult struggle, which is not over yet, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Thursday. Earlier, he met with members of the Belarusian opposition.

Recounting his talks with the Belarusian oppositionists, PM Morawiecki described them as “passionate about the Belarusian cause” and “Belarusian patriots who want to devote their entire young lives to the fight for a free, democratic Belarus.”

The Polish PM stressed that Poles had to support the Belarusians in their efforts, and observed that the situation in the country resembled Poland's state of affairs in 1980, the year of the formation of the Solidarity trade union, which eventually overthrew the communist regime.

Mr Morawiecki said he believed the Belarusians’ struggle for freedom will take some time, but will be much briefer than Poland’s. He added that democratic forces in Belarus will be more effective, once they receive more international support.

The Polish PM said Poland wanted changes in Belarus to take place through dialogue, as this would enable “truly free” elections in the country and Belarus’ accession to “the family of free, democratic European peoples.”

Post-election protests are ongoing in Belarus. According to official data, Alexander Lukashenko who was seeking re-election in the presidential election held on August 9, gained 80.1 percent of the votes, while his main rival Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya received 10.1 percent. Many Belarusians believe that the results were rigged.

Despite international criticism, Belarusian police are using violence, including tear gas and stun grenades, to quell the protests. Thousands of protesters have been arrested.