The Czech Foreign Minister, Tomáš Petříček, denied on Monday that Czechia organized the ongoing protests in Belarus after the Belarusian president accused the country of fomenting dissent amid a disputed election, Lidovky.cz reported. Petříček stated that Lukashenko has presented no evidence of interference, although he said that Czechia’s general policy was to support an independent civil society in the country. The statement comes amid the onset of opposition protests after the weekend election was rocked by accusations of voting irregularities.
Petříček also denied that Czech-exported flash grenades used against protestors were exported by Czechia. According to a photo on Telegram, an encrypted messaging app, a Czech flash-bang produced in 2012 was used against peaceful protestors, as reported by iDnes. Czechia has maintained its participation in the EU embargo of arms on Belarus as of 2011.
In a tweet reply, Petříček further explained:
“Unfortunately, there are other ways how this material could end up being used to suppress the demonstrations – black market or old production (before 2011) among them.”
Jiří Hynek, the President of the Association of the Defense and Security Industry of the Czech Republic, also denies that Czechia exported the flash-bang grenade to the Belarusian government.
“I looked at the statistics and, as far as I know, nothing like that was exported from us to Belarus,” he said to iDnes.
Petříček further criticized the Belarusian government on Twitter, stating that “We consider it unacceptable that a large number of people were detained before the vote in connection with the election campaigning and exercising of the right of assembly,” and called on the government to “stop punishing its citizens for exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights.”