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European Politicians Protest At Belarus Border


http://gdb.rferl.org/06287D61-D0B3-4D40-9E1E-47496A87569C_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/06287D61-D0B3-4D40-9E1E-47496A87569C_mw800_mh600.jpg A Polish protester wears a mask of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka at a pro-democracy demonstration at the border crossing at Kuznica (epa) March 19, 2006 -- Roughly a dozen European politicians denied permission to enter Belarus and observe the presidential election being held today have joined a small student protest at the Lithuanian border post of Medininkai.


The politicians -- parliamentarians, national lawmakers, and municipal councilors from countries such as Denmark, Poland, and the Netherlands -- had been told their Belarusian visas had been revoked.


Both Brussels and Washington have vowed to tighten sanctions against Belarus if those independent observers who made it to the country say the vote was unfair.


(Reuters)

The EU Watches Minsk

Belarusian students studying at an EU-funded university in Vilnius, Lithuania

WATCHING AND WAITING: The European Union repeatedly urged Minsk to conduct a fair and democratic presidential election on March 19. The EU external relations commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said in a statement today that the recent arrests of Belarusian opposition figures are "unacceptable" campaign violations. Ferrero-Waldner repeated an EU threat of "targeted sanctions" against top Belarusian officials if the elections are not free and fair. However, the EU will withhold final judgment until March 20, when the bloc's foreign ministers meet in Brussels....(more)

Related stories:

Belarus: EU-Funded Broadcasts Set To Begin

Belarus: Oppositionist Seeks EU Support For 'Revolution Of Hope'

Belarus: EU Foreign Ministers Meet With Opposition Leader

Belarus: EU Bolsters Support For Opposition Ahead Of Vote


Click on the image to view a dedicated page with news, analysis, and background information about the Belarusian presidential ballot.

MEET THE CANDIDATES: Read brief biographies of the four candidates in the March 19 election.


Click on the image to view RFE/RL's coverage of the election campaign in Belarusian and to listen to RFE/RL's Belarusian Service.

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