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Europe's Last Dictator, a movie about the tyrannical president of Belarus premieres in London. The movie follows the brutal crackdown on opposition leaders after the 2010 vote that saw Alexander Lukashenko cling to power in what many say was a rigged election.
On 19th December 2010, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Minsk to protest the vote rigging. Among them were seven of the opposition presidential candidates. Lukashenko ordered a brutal crackdown on the demonstrators leading to hundreds of arrests. Presidential candidates Andrei Sannikov and Vladimir Neklyayev were severely beaten up during the rally and taken to prison as well as five other opposition leaders.
"Europe's Last Dictator" also charts the journey of UK acupuncturist Irina Bogdanova. Irina is the sister of still imprisoned opposition leader Andrei Sannikov. She started up Free Belarus Now, a European campaign to raise awareness and help Belarusian political prisoners. She saw the movie tonight for the first time.
The film Co-Director, Mathew Charles, had to film undercover in Minsk and was arrested by the KGB, the Belarus secret police.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange came to give his support and lead the Q+A session.
[Julian Assange, Founder, WikiLeaks]: (Courtesy of O. Evans/K. Svendsen)
"I do know some of those people who have been imprisoned personally since 2009 and I'm confident that they should not be in prison. It is wrong that they are being imprisoned and they should be released." (vimeo.com/37900349)
Lukashenko has kept Belarus under isolation for 18 years. Last week he made the headlines when he expelled the EU delegation and the Polish ambassador — his reaction to EU sanctions against Belarusian corrupt officials.
NTD News, London.