- Title: Over 1,600 rally in Minsk against deeper Belarus-Russia integration
- Date: 20th December 2019
- Summary: MINSK, BELARUS (DECEMBER 20, 2019) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** PROTESTER SPEAKING THROUGH MEGAPHONE, SAYING (Belarusian): 'THE CONSTITUTION OBLIGES EVERY CITIZEN OF THE REPUBLIC OF BELARUS TO DEFEND THE INDEPENDENCE AND CONSTITUTIONAL ORDER IN THE REPUBLIC' PROTESTER HOLDING CARTOON OF RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN SITTING ON TOILET PROTESTERS CHANTING (Belarusian): 'FREEDOM' PROTESTER HOLDING POSTER READING (Belarusian): 'RUSSIA + PUTIN = GULAG +WAR' PROTESTERS WALKING WITH FLAGS CHANTING (Belarusian): 'LONG LIVE BELARUS!' (SOUNDBITE) (Belarusian) UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER, SAYING: "Russia wants to revive the empire, the USSR. And people do not understand how dangerous it is, their ordinary people are poor. We really live better. If we integrate with them - I think it will be too late to do something about it. It will be really hard to change anything." PROTESTERS CHANTING (Belarusian): 'INDEPENDENCE' PROTESTERS CHANTING (Belarusian): 'NO UNIONS WITH IMPERIAL RUSSIA' PROTESTER WALKING WITH FLAG CHANTING (Belarusian): 'LONG LIVE BELARUS!' PROTESTER AT RALLY IN FRONT OF BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT CHANTING (Belarusian): 'LONG LIVE BELARUS!' PROTESTER GATHERED IN SQUARE, CHANTING (Belarusian): 'INDEPENDENCE' (SOUNDBITE) (Belarusian) HEAD OF ZA SVOBODU (FOR FREEDOM) MOVEMENT, YURY GUBAREVICH, SAYING: "Independence is not a thing to juggle, it belongs neither to the leader of the state, who occupies his post unlawfully, nor to today's residents of the independent Belarus. This treasure is an achievement of all those who fought for our state to be independent." PEOPLE IN SQUARE CHANTING (Belarusian): 'INDEPENDENCE'
- Embargoed: 3rd January 2020 20:11
- Keywords: Belarus Russia Belarus-Russia integration protest rally
- Location: MINSK, BELARUS
- City: MINSK, BELARUS
- Country: Belarus
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001BAS7U49
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:More than 1,600 protesters took to the streets in Minsk on Friday (December 20) to protest against deepening integration between Russia and Belarus, as the leaders of the two countries met in St. Petersburg.
People chanted 'independence' and 'no unions with imperial Russia'. No arrests were reported.
Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the development of relations between Russia and Belarus during a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in Saint Petersburg.
During their meeting, Putin noted significant progress made as part of the Union State treaty between the two countries, which was signed in December 1999. He also said that much of the work envisaged in the agreement remained incomplete.
Russia and Belarus have been discussing deeper integration, or a 'union state', for around two decades, but have failed to agree on key points, including a united currency.
The leaders discussed 'prospects for deepening integration as part of a union state' in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on Dec. 7.
Russia has helped Lukashenko over the past 25 years with loans and energy subsidies, but Moscow started to scale back this help last year, prompting Lukashenko to accuse Russia of trying to bully his much smaller country into a union.
(Production: Vasily Fedosenko, Anton Derbenev)
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