Moscow, Aug 16 (efe-epa).- The Belarusian organization Belaya Rus called for a rally on Sunday in Minsk to support President Alexandr Lukashenko, who has been facing the largest wave of protests against him in his 26 years in power.
The call for the demonstration was posted by Belaya Rus on Facebook: “All those who love their Motherland and are against splitting the country into two opposing sides will gather for this rally.”
The rally will be held in front of the government building and will coincide with the March for Freedom, called for by the opposition for 14:00 local time (11.00 GMT).
The Belarusian digital newspaper tut.by reported numerous complaints from public employees who claim to have been threatened with dismissal if they do not attend the government rally.
The protests against Lukashenko broke out on 9 August, after an exit poll was announced that the Belarusian president had been re-elected.
Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, won 80.1 percent of the votes, while unified opposition candidate Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya won 10 percent, according to the Central Electoral Commission (CEC).
This will see him serve a sixth presidential term, although his victory has been rejected by the opposition and the majority of international governments.
There is growing evidence in the Belarusian press that local officials put pressure on election commission members to manipulate the results at the polls.
Opposition leader Tsikhanouskaya should have had the option of holding a second round but the CEC has rejected all appeals against the election results.
To protest the election outcome, denounced as fraudulent by the opponents, demonstrators took to the streets to protest in 33 cities and towns of the country.
At least two people have died, almost three hundred have been injured, and around 7,000 have been arrested.
This is the result of the police repression of the demonstrations that have spread throughout the country.
Citizens who have been released reported being subjected to torture and beatings in detention centres. EFE-EPA