Alexander Lukashenko inaugurated as Belarus President

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko abruptly sworn in for new presidential term

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has been sworn in for a new term in an unannounced inauguration after six weeks of mass protests against his election victory. Belarusian opposition leaders say that, with the EU's position tangled, they're looking to Canada, the United States and Britain move ahead with sanctions as a signal to Mr. Lukashenko that there will be consequences.

The motorcade of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was seen traveling through the streets of Minsk, Belarus, on September 23, the same day he was unexpectedly sworn in for a sixth presidential term.

State media said several hundred people attended the ceremony at the Palace of Independence in central Minsk. Police and other security forces blocked off parts of the city and public transportation was suspended.

Earlier in the day Lukashenko's opposition rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya reiterated her claim to be the true victor of the elections, saying the "so-called inauguration is of course a farce".

"We not only elected a president of the country, we protected our values, our peaceful life, sovereignty and independence", he said.

She said the people did not give Lukashenko a new mandate, and the so-called inauguration was a farce.

He added the secrecy surrounding the swearing-in was "very telling".

The European Union refuses to recognise Alexander Lukashenko as Belarus president after his inauguration that lacked "democratic legitimacy" and Brussels is reviewing its relations with Minsk, the EU's diplomatic chief said Thursday. According to the official results, the incumbent received 80 percent of the vote, with Tikhanovskaya receiving just 10 percent. However, Lukashenko's disputed election victory on August 9 has unleashed weeks of mass protest across Belarus.

The US said Wednesday it did not consider Alexander Lukashenko the legitimate president of Belarus. "The United States can not consider Alexander Lukashenko the legitimately elected leader of Belarus".

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He said: "I can not, I have no right to abandon the Belarusians".

After polls closed, thousands of Belarusians took to the streets to protest the results, considered by many to have been fixed.

Belarusian opposition leader, and Lukashenko's election opposnent Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, traveled to Brussels on Monday in a bid to convince the European Union to follow through on sanctions the bloc threatened last month in response to the crackdown.

The time and location of the inauguration ceremony were not publicized in advance.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said on Twitter: "Such a farce". Amid global outrage, Belarusian authorities switched to prosecuting top activists and mass detentions, avoiding large-scale violence.

The EU again threw its full support behind the peaceful Belarus protests and their calls for new elections "despite the brutal repression of the Belarusian authorities", he said.

Many members of the Coordination Council that was formed by the opposition to push for a transition of power have been arrested or forced to leave the country.

Lukashenko's inauguration had effectively been put on hold. "An unfortunate error of history and a disgrace of the civilized world", Latushko said on the messaging app Telegram. He and others urged Lukashenko to open dialogue with the protesters and hold new free and fair elections.

Latushko called for "an indefinite action of civil disobedience".

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