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World News

‘Pray for unity’ says Belarusian Baptist leader as political turmoil in the country continues

Christians are being urged to pray for the country of Belarus in light of mass protests which have been ongoing for weeks. 

More than 100,000 people took to the streets in Minsk over the weekend demanding the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko amid allegations of electoral fraud.   

Over 600 demonstrators were arrested amongst reports of police brutality.  

Demonstrations broke out after official results of the presidential election last month were announced, giving Lukashenko his sixth consecutive term with 80 per cent of the vote.  

Key opposition leaders Maria Kolesnikova and Maxim Znak were both arrested this week. Kolesnikova has since been released however Znak remains detained at the time of writing. 

The European Union has rejected the result of the elections and has threatened sanctions against Lukashenko’s government. 

Leonid Mikhovich from the Baptist Union in Belarus tells Premier the recent events have divided the church: "The situation has created a lot of tension in society as well as among Christians and churches. 

"It has affected a lot of us, there are several dividing lines between churches so we have a lot of discussions and tensions." 

The Church in Belarus has historically been separate from politics.  Mikhovich says that during the Soviet Union the Church was considered an enemy of the state, and most churches still feel this way today. 

As a result of this, only the Catholic Church has publicly sympathised with the anti-government movement while others have preferred to focus on prayer and street evangelism. 

Mikhovich hask asked Christians around the world to intercede on behalf of Belarusians. 

"Pray for churches. We need unity in this time, to work together, especially evangelical churches. Pray for our society, to keep us from hate, revenge and bitterness."

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