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President Lukashenka (RFE/RL)
25 November 2005 -- The parliament in Belarus today gave initial approval to a law aimed at preventing a "colored" revolution similar to ones in Ukraine and Georgia.
The lower house backed on first reading legislation imposing stiff penalties on anyone spreading false information about Belarus, staging illegal rallies or belonging to groups not officially registered.
Stepan Sukhorenko, the chief of Belarusian security service, the KGB, told the chamber that Belarus is "dealing with an entire industry dedicated to preparing so-called colored revolutions. Adopting this law will enable us to uphold national security in Belarus."
Opposition figures expressed concern at the bill and predicted political trials would follow next year, when presidential elections are to be held.
This week, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said polls give him up to 75 percent backing. He also said the West has offered him money and security assurances if he agreed to withdraw.