Belarusian leader in exile: ‘Every day the number of political prisoners is increasing’

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, a Belarusian opposition leader currently living in exile in the United Kingdom, joins Yahoo News Reporter Niamh Cavanagh to talk about her hopes for the future of democracy in her home country. Tsikhanouskaya tells Yahoo News that she believes free and fair elections will not be possible under current President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994 and is closely allied with Russia.

Video transcript

SVIATLANA TSIKHANOUSKAYA: Everyday in Belarus, about 20 people are being detained. Every day, the number of political prisoners is increasing constantly. And of course, Russian propaganda coincides with Belarusian propaganda. And we have to counter this with the means we have. We don't have access to state TV or state newspapers. All the alternative media in Belarus were ruined. They restored their activity in exile, but they were declared as extremists inside Belarus.

And people who are subscribed on media outlets or who, I don't know, comment or put likes on Instagram or TikTok, if they are detained and their phone is searched and, you know, police see that they're subscribed on this media, they will be detained for years. So they cannot be free and fair elections while Lukashenko is there.