Belarus blames freedom

ALEKSANDR LUKASHENKA, president of Belarus, is using a weekend tragedy in which 52 people died in an underpass stampede in Minsk to shore up the autocratic methods for which he is notorious.

Mr Lukashenka, blamed it not on poor crowd control, or ill luck, but on democracy.

"Why did it happen to us? It is all because of our recklessness," he said, "We treat all this democracy too freely - go where you want, do what you please."

Most of the victims were teenage girls, crushed by hundreds of people crowding into a metro underpass after a rock concert was interrupted by a sudden thunderstorm.