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Opposition Leader Says Lukashenka Rattled By Protests


http://gdb.rferl.org/95C91155-75FA-444F-A45A-C06A2FF5F13C_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/95C91155-75FA-444F-A45A-C06A2FF5F13C_mw800_mh600.jpg Alyaksandr Milinkevich at a press conference in Warsaw today (RFE/RL) March 30, 2006 -- Belarusian opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich says he believes President Alyaksandr Lukashenka postponed his inauguration because he is "in a bad psychological state" over protest rallies against his reelection.

Milinkevich told Reuters on a visit to Warsaw that the Belarusian leader wants to be left alone until the "storm is over" concerning the March 19 contested presidential election.


Lukashenka postponed his inauguration yesterday without explanation. Milinkevich's statement could not be independently confirmed.


In Poland, Milinkevich thanked Polish universities for offering to accept Belarusian students expelled from universities for taking part in anti-Lukashenka rallies.


"The signing of an agreement among rectors of Polish universities is a very important development, because those students who are being and have been expelled from Belarusian universities will have an opportunity to continue their studies," the opposition leader said. " I think the Republic of Poland is providing enormous help by doing this."


Milinkevich is to lead a meeting of opposition forces on March 31 after returning to Minsk.


(Reuters, with contributions from RFE/RL's Belarus Service and other agencies)

Minsk, March 25

THE AUTHORITIES GET TOUGH: RFE/RL's Belarus Service filed these images from the police action against the March 25 demonstration in Minsk. Photographs by Maks Kapran.


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


COVERAGE IN BELARUSIAN: 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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