“Here protesters don’t storm the ‘Capitol’ of Belarus”
Stand: 11.01.2021 | Reading time: 2 minutes
The ice hockey world championship is to take place in Belarus this year. There is considerable resistance to this, the world association meets at the end of the month. Its president now met with Alexander Lukashenko.
DAt a meeting with the President of the World Ice Hockey Federation IIHF, the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko defended the planned hosting of the World Cup against criticism. Regardless of the international pressure on the association, Belarus is ready for the tournament – possibly even without co-host Latvia, said Lukashenko during the conversation with René Fasel in Minsk.
Due to massive police violence against those who think differently and a lack of protective measures in the corona pandemic, Belarus is controversial as a World Cup location. The World Cup is planned for May 21 to June 6 in Latvia and Belarus.
Lukashenko, who is considered the “last dictator in Europe”, received Fasel warmly; they shook both hands in greeting, as can be seen in pictures in the state media. “If Latvia renounces, we will host the World Cup in Belarus, and it will be the best World Cup in history,” said Lukashenko. The IIHF Council plans to meet on January 25th and 26th on the alignment in Belarus.
Lukashenko’s opponents call for a World Cup boycott
Because of the presidential election on August 9, which was criticized as being falsified, Lukashenko is no longer recognized by the EU as head of state. After 26 years in power, the 66-year-old was again declared the winner with 80.1 percent. However, his opponents see the 38-year-old Svetlana Tichanowskaja as the winner. More than 30,000 people have been arrested during protests against Lukashenko in recent months. Hundreds of people were injured and several were killed. In addition to the EU, the US has also imposed sanctions on Belarus.
Lukashenko’s opponents are against a World Cup in Belarus and are calling for a boycott if the tournament should take place in Minsk. Lukashenko himself said at the meeting with Fasel that Belarus is a safe country. “Protesters and similar dissatisfied people are not storming government buildings and the ‘Capitol’ of Belarus”, he said, referring to the storming of the US Congress building in Washington last week.
Lukashenko said there was no reason to cancel the World Cup in Belarus. “If the IIHF cannot cope with the pressure of individual political circles in individual countries,” he said, “then that means that there will be no World Cup in Belarus.”