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Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko defended his nation’s skill to host this yr’s hockey world championships on Monday by ridiculing america following the violent assault on the Capitol.
The authoritarian chief met with Worldwide Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel for talks amid calls to maneuver the world championships following mass protests towards Lukashenko’s rule.
He instructed Fasel that the protests wouldn’t make it unsafe for Belarus to host the event, and in contrast his nation with america, the place supporters of President Donald Trump rioted on the Capitol final week.
“In our nation, protesters and different dissatisfied individuals don’t storm authorities businesses and capitols,” Lukashenko stated. “We’ve got a totally regular state of affairs from the angle of the event of democratic processes.”
Belarus is scheduled to co-host the world championships with Latvia in Might and June, however the opposition within the nation has known as for a boycott and the Latvian authorities has stated it desires Belarus to get replaced.
At his assembly with Fasel, Lukashenko embraced his visitor and likewise supplied to host the complete event with out Latvia and stated it could be “one of the best world championship in historical past.”
Mass protests swept Belarus, a former Soviet nation of 9.5 million individuals, after official outcomes from the presidential election on Aug. 9 gave Lukashenko a landslide victory over his extensively widespread opponent, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. She and her supporters refused to acknowledge the consequence, saying the vote was riddled with fraud.
Authorities have cracked down laborious on the largely peaceable demonstrations, the largest of which attracted as much as 200,000 individuals.
Lukashenko has been president of the Belarus Olympic Committee for the reason that Nineties and Fasel is an IOC member who beforehand sat on the chief committee. The IOC suspended Lukashenko from all Olympic actions final month, together with this yr’s Tokyo Video games, saying that the nation’s Olympic physique had not protected athletes dealing with discrimination for his or her political opinions.
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