US slaps sanctions on Belarus police over crackdown

St. Liu

  • a large crowd of people: Belarus pensioners rally in November 2020 in Minsk against the widely contested results of the election
  • Belarusian law enforcement officers follow participants of an opposition rally, who demand the resignation of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and protest against police violence in Minsk, Belarus November 30, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer
  • Riot police block Belarusian pensioners wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus during an opposition rally to protest the official presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. Hundreds of retirees rallied in the Belarusian capital on Monday against the country's authoritarian leader, as security forces moved to break up the traditional weekly march. The crowd of pensioners in Minsk that demanded President Alexander Lukashenko to resign ran into police cordons along the route of the march and divided into smaller groups that went into different directions. (AP Photo)

a large crowd of people: Belarus pensioners rally in November 2020 in Minsk against the widely contested results of the electionNext SlideFull Screen1/3 SLIDES © StringerBelarus pensioners rally in November 2020 in Minsk against the widely contested results of the election

The United States on Wednesday slapped sanctions on Belarus police units and a senior security official over their violent crackdown on mass protests following the strongman leader´s contested reelection.

The Treasury Department said it will freeze any US assets and bar transactions with first deputy interior minister Gennady Kazakevich, who in October appeared in a video threatening protesters with lethal force.

“We stand with the brave people of Belarus and support their right to free and fair elections,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, denouncing ongoing “efforts to undermine Belarusian democracy.”

The Treasury Department also imposed sanctions on three security bodies involved in the crackdown including the Minsk Special Purpose Police Unit.

The United States previously imposed sanctions on election authorities accused of rigging the August vote, in which President Alexander Lukashenko was declared the winner of a sixth term.

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  • Slide 76 of 126: Mandatory Credit: Photo by AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11613695c)
Members of a judicial panel of enquiry set up by the Lagos government sit during a session, after the military shooting to disperse the 'EndSars' protesters at the Lekki toll gate last October in Lagos, Nigeria, 19 October 2020. The military attack during a protest in October against police brutality in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos attracted unprecedented condemnation across the world. Although there has been a disagreement between security forces and  protesters of death after the shooting, it is expected that a judicial panel set up to look into the incident at Lekki and other police brutality would bring some clarity. But that has not yet happened.
Panel of Enquiry Over Police Brutality in Lagos, Nigeria - 19 Dec 2020
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  • Slide 79 of 126: People visit Yerablur Military Pantheon cemetery on the day of the Armenian nationwide mourning for those killed in a military conflict over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh in Yerevan, Armenia December 19, 2020. Vahram Baghdasaryan/Photolure via REUTERS  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY
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  • Slide 88 of 126: A woman casts her ballot during the local election at a polling centre in a school in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina December 20, 2020. Bosnia's ethnically divided southern town of Mostar holds its first local vote in 12 years, after rival Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) and Croat politicians reached a deal on the voting rules. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
  • Slide 89 of 126: A handout picture released by Press Information Department shows a delegation of Afghan Taliban led by Mullah Baradar Ghani talking with Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan (C), in Islamabad, Pakistan, 18 December 2020. The Taliban delegation met on 18 December with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and the foreign minister to discuss the ongoing peace process in Pakistan's capital.
  • Slide 90 of 126: Members of the Lebanese Civil Defense erect a Christmas tree by Lebanese artist Hayat Nazer decorated with the uniforms of firefighters who were killed in the port explosion, in the Lebanese capital's harbour on December 18, 2020. (Photo by ANWAR AMRO / AFP) (Photo by ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Slide 91 of 126: TOPSHOT - Released students from the Government Science Secondary school, in Kankara, in northwestern Katsina State, Nigeria are led into the Government House upon their release on December 18, 2020. - More than 300 Nigerian schoolboys were released on Thursday after being abducted in an attack claimed by Boko Haram, officials said, although it was unclear if any more remained with their captors (Photo by Kola SULAIMON / AFP) (Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Slide 92 of 126: Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong is seen exciting a Corrections department van after attending court at Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre on December 18, 2020 in Hong Kong, China. Wong was indicted for taking part in an unauthorised assembly over an anti-mask law protest.  (Photo by Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
  • Slide 93 of 126: TOPSHOT - A Boeing C-17 military transport aircraft of the Qatar Air Force performs during a military parade to mark Qatar's national day celebration, in the capital Doha on December 18, 2020. (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Slide 94 of 126: TOPSHOT - People push a half-submerged tricycle through a flooded street due to heavy rains caused by tropical depression Vicky in San Francisco town, Agusan del sur province on the southern island of Mindanao on December 18, 2020. (Photo by erwin mascarinas / AFP) (Photo by ERWIN MASCARINAS/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Slide 95 of 126: Protesters chant slogans against Tunisian deputies outside the parliament building in the capital Tunis on December 18, 2020. - Dozens demonstrated in Tunis on December 18 to denounce "hate" and "violent" speech by certain deputies in Parliament, and demanding measures against them. (Photo by ANIS MILI / AFP) (Photo by ANIS MILI/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Slide 96 of 126: A police officer wearing face mask to protect against coronavirus, check vehicles on a foggy evening at a roadblock near Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. Lithuania tightens lockdown, to close shops, restrict movement as of Wednesday. The majority of shops, with the exception of those selling food, closed in Lithuania as of Wednesday as the country is tightening the existing lockdown. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
  • Slide 97 of 126: LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA - 2020/12/18: Protesters carry a figure of a large bicycle decorated with lights as a symbol of anti-government protest to a bridge over Ljubljanica river.
Amid growing instability in the government of Janez Jansa, the anti-government protests in Ljubljana continued. On Friday, protesters strung up a lighted bicycle, a symbol of protests, over the Ljubljanica River in the city center and strolled through the streets carrying banners.  In order to respect the covid-19 epidemic restrictions that are subject to very big fines the protest was small, but creative. (Photo by Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • Slide 98 of 126: Iraqi protesters gather at al-Habboubi square in the southern city of Nasiriyah in Dhi Qar province on December 18, 2020, to demand their legitimate rights and accountability for killings. (Photo by Asaad NIAZI / AFP) (Photo by ASAAD NIAZI/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Slide 99 of 126: Israeli soldiers stop Palestinian protesters from reaching a Jewish settlers outpost, at the outskirts of the West Bank village of Mughayer, north of Ramallah, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. Palestinian protesters marched toward a Jewish settlers outpost, clashing with settlers who used dogs against them, before the Israeli army dispersed the protesters using teargas and rubber bullets following minor clashes. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
  • Slide 100 of 126: GAZIANTEP, TURKEY - DECEMBER 19: A view from the site after the explosion of oxygen equipment in COVID-19 intensive care unit of private hospital, in Turkey's Gaziantep on December 19, 2002. 8 killed in southeastern Turkey due to explosion of oxygen equipment in COVID-19 intensive care unit. Police officers, firefighters, ambulances were sent to the site. (Photo by Adsiz Gunebakan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
  • Slide 101 of 126: KIEV, UKRAINE - DECEMBER 18: Servicemen of National guard stand during a rally of representatives of small businesses the 'Save FOP' ("Save individual-entrepreneurs") amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, on December 18, 2020. Small businesspeople from all country gathered in Ukrainian capital to demand the abrogation of the amendments to a law about the simplified tax system, and against restrictive measures amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (Photo by Vladimir Shtanko/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
  • Slide 102 of 126: A Soyuz-2.1b rocket booster carrying the satellites of British firm OneWeb blasts off from a launch pad at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Amur Region, Russia December 18, 2020. Russian space agency Roscosmos/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
  • Slide 103 of 126: Workers stand inside a partially closed shop in the city of Buzios, a popular holiday destination in Brazil, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this seaside town is going into full lockdown starting on Friday, tourists have been given 72 hours to leave and roadblocks will stop non-residents from entering. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)
  • Slide 104 of 126: A member of the medical staff, wearing a mask for protection against the COVID-19 infection, scans a label on a refrigerator that will be used for storing COVID-19 vaccines, at the National Center for Storage of the COVID-19 Vaccine, a military run facility, in Bucharest, Romania, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. Romanian authorities plan to start COVID-19 vaccinations on Dec. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)
  • Slide 105 of 126: A farmer carries his plough through a mustard field in Manikganj, on the outskirts of Dhaka on December 18, 2020. (Photo by Munir Uz zaman / AFP) (Photo by MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Slide 106 of 126: MINSK, BELARUS - DECEMBER 18, 2020: Belarus' Deputy Prime Minister Igor Petrishenko, Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko and Belarus' Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei (L-R) take part in a video conference meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) at the Palace of Independence. Maxim Guchek/BelTA/TASS (Photo by Maxim Guchek\TASS via Getty Images)
  • Slide 107 of 126: Nepalese Muslims offering Friday ritual prayer after nine months in mosque at Nepal Jame Masjid, Kathmandu, Nepal on Friday, December 18, 2020. Nepal government had decided to open masjid after nine months of closure. (Photo by Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
  • Slide 108 of 126: TOPSHOT - A man wearing a facemask as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus, travels on a passenger bus in Karachi on December 17, 2020. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Slide 109 of 126: An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man lights candles to mark Hanukkah, the 8-day Jewish Festival of Lights, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Ashdod, Israel December 17, 2020 REUTERS/Amir Cohen
  • Slide 110 of 126: Demonstrators gesture as they gather to urge authorities to rescue hundreds of abducted schoolboys, in northwestern state of Katsina, Nigeria, December 17, 2020. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
  • Slide 111 of 126: French President Emmanuel Macron, tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is seen on a screen as he attends by video conference a round table for the National Humanitarian Conference (NHC) at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Paris, France, December 17, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/Pool
  • Slide 112 of 126: People wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus take photos of a model of China's Chang'e 5 lunar orbiter and lander before a press conference at the State Council Information Office in Beijing, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. Following the successful return of moon rocks by its Chang'e 5 robotic probe, China is preparing for future missions that could set the stage for an eventual  lunar base to host human explorers. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
  • Slide 113 of 126: European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, center, greets EU Special Representative for Balkan issues Miroslav Lajcak, left, next to European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi prior an EU-Serbia videoconference council at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, Pool)
  • Slide 114 of 126: A subway train stands at a station in Frankfurt, Germany, on a foggy Friday morning, Dec. 18, 2020, when Germany reached a record high of new corona infections. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
  • Slide 115 of 126: Men wearing protective face masks amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic walk beside police officer on Qasr el-Nil bridge leading to Cairo's Tahrir Square, Egypt December 17, 2020. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
  • Slide 116 of 126: People stand at the entrance of the Church decorated with Christmas lights and decorations in the village of Bishtazhin on December 17, 2020. (Photo by Armend NIMANI / AFP) (Photo by ARMEND NIMANI/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Slide 117 of 126: A worker disinfects a nativity scene display at a shrine amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Manila, Philippines, December 17, 2020. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David
  • Slide 118 of 126: Pyongyang citizens visit Mansu Hill to offer the bouquets of flowers to the bronze statues of their late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on the occasion of the 9th death anniversary of Kim Jong Il, in Pyongyang, North Korea Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Cha Song Ho)
  • Slide 119 of 126: PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - DECEMBER 17: A general view of the illuminated Old Town Square with a Christmas tree in Prague, Czech Republic on December 17, 2020. From 18 December 2020, the whole of the Czech Republic is moving to a higher tier of measures, with bars and restaurants, hotels, indoor sports grounds and swimming pools closing. (Photo by Lukas Kabon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
  • Slide 120 of 126: People gather during a protetst in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. Tunisia has marked 10 years since the revolution that erupted in the North African nation after a local fruit and vegetable seller set himself aflame in front of a government building to protest humiliation by police who seized his cartful of merchandise. The economically troubled region of Sidi Bouzid in central Tunisia where the self-immolation took place is still waiting a decade later to reap rewards from the uprising. (AP Photo/Riadh Dridi)
  • Slide 121 of 126: Residents wearing a facemask to contain the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, walk along a street decorated with umbrellas, in Kathmandu on December 17, 2020. (Photo by PRAKASH MATHEMA / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Slide 122 of 126: TOPSHOT - Russian President Vladimir Putin appears on a screen in a hall at the World Trade Centre's congress centre as he addresses his annual press conference via a video link from the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, in Moscow on December 17, 2020, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic. (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP) (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Slide 123 of 126: The first Saudi citizen receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine (Tozinameran) speaks to reporters after its administration at a vaccination centre supervised by the health ministry in the capital Riyadh on December 17, 2020. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Slide 124 of 126: Women wearing protective masks talk to each other on a street, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia December 17, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng
  • Slide 125 of 126: Pedestrians wearing protective masks amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, make their way at a shopping district in Tokyo, Japan, December 17, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
  • Slide 126 of 126: ANKARA,TURKEY - DECEMBER 17: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi (L) hold a joint press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkey on December 17, 2020. (Photo by Ali Balikci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Slide 1 of 126: Christian devotees take part in a special service ahead of Christmas celebrations in Lahore on December 23, 2020. (Photo by Arif ALI / AFP) (Photo by ARIF ALI/AFP via Getty Images)Next SlideFull Screen1/126 SLIDES © Arif Ali/AFP via Getty ImagesDevotees take part in a special service ahead of Christmas celebrations in Lahore, Pakistan, on Dec. 23, 2020.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets for months, believing that Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was the true winner, although in recent weeks protesters have held smaller gatherings to avoid arrest.

The United States has had sanctions in place since 2006 on Lukashenko, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, over a previous crackdown on his disputed reelection.

The European Union has taken fresh measures against Lukashenko and his son over the latest violence, including a freeze on their assets and visa bans.

Pompeo paid a rare visit to Belarus in January and spoke to Lukashenko by phone in October to secure the release of a detained US citizen. AdChoices

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