Nottingham City Council Leader, Councillor David Mellen, has written to the Foreign Secretary raising concerns about the situation in Belarus, a country Nottingham shares close ties with due to the city previously being twinned with Minsk as far back as 1966.

There are widespread reports of violence being used against people in Belarus protesting against the election results this week, which are widely considered to have been unfair and rigged by the incumbent President, Alexander Lukashenko.

In his letter to Dominic Raab, Councillor Mellen said: “The reported use of rubber bullets, stun grenades and water cannons against demonstrators in Belarus is abhorrent and must be stopped. People in Belarus should have the right to choose their own government free from fear and intimidation.

“Nottingham has a close relationship with Belarus as our city has been twinned with Minsk. As Foreign Secretary you must condemn President Lukashenko’s actions and work with the international community to promote and protect human rights. There must be an end to the violence and a commitment from Lukashenko to an open and transparent democratic process.”

Councillor Mellen also offered his solidarity to the people of Belarus, saying: “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone caught up in the situation in Belarus, and I hope it will come to a peaceful and positive conclusion soon.”