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Belarus Opposition Leader Thanks Lithuanian President For Nobel Peace Prize Nomination


Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya (file photo)

Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya has thanked Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda for nominating her and "all the people of Belarus" for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Tsikhanouskaya expressed her gratitude on January 30 on Twitter, calling the nomination "a great expression of solidarity with Belarus & acknowledgment of our peaceful fight for freedom that has been inspiring the whole world since last August."

The tweet included four photos taken at mass protests in Belarus since a widely disputed presidential election in August that strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka claims he won over Tsikhanouskaya by a landslide.

Nauseda nominated Tsikhanouskaya to show his support for the Belarusian democratic movement and its demand for free elections, a source with knowledge of the matter said, according to Reuters.

Tsikhanouskaya relocated to Lithuania for security reasons after the election, which she and her supporters say she won.

The trained English teacher and wife of jailed vlogger Syarhey Tsikhanouski has kept up her campaign from Vilnius, encouraging Belarusians to continue demanding Lukashenka stand down, free jailed protesters, and hold free elections.

Tens of thousands have taken part in the protests despite a crackdown, including thousands of arrests and the expulsion of most top opposition figures. Several protesters have been killed in the violence and some rights organizations say there is credible evidence of torture against some of those detained.

Lukashenka, meanwhile, has denied any wrongdoing and refuses to negotiate with the opposition.

The European Union, the United States, Canada, and other countries have refused to recognize him as the legitimate leader of Belarus and imposed sanctions on him and senior officials.

Last week, Tsikhanouskaya urged the European Union and the United States to be "braver and stronger" in their actions to help end Lukashenka's rule.

Nominations for this year's Nobel Peace Prize are due to close on January 31. The winner is scheduled to be announced in November.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP
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