Lukashenko
© Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko
If Emmanuel Macron believes heads of state must resign over street protests, he should have left office himself when Yellow Vest demonstrators took to the streets in France, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said on Sunday.

Lukashenko, who has faced weeks of large-scale protests following last month's presidential election, which the opposition insists was rigged, has labeled Macron an "immature politician." His words were reported to the state-owned BelTA news agency by his press secretary.

As a "mature politician," the Belarusian president advised his French counterpart "not to get distracted, but instead focus on the internal affairs of France. At least, begin solving the many problems that accumulated in the country," Lukashenko added.

The statement came after Macron said in an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche that "it is clear that Lukashenko must go" because his "authoritarian administration" is unable to accept democracy.

"Judging by his own logic, the French president should've himself resigned two years ago when the Yellow Vests started going out to the streets in Paris," Lukashenko pointed out.

The Belarusian president went on to note that, as well as the Yellow Vests, France also needs to deal with the Black Lives Matter movement as well as "Muslim protests" - apparently referring to the 2019 anti-Islamophobia demonstrations.

Responding to Macron, Lukashenko quipped that Minsk is ready to provide a venue for negotiations on "a peaceful transition of power [from the French president] to any of the above-mentioned groups."

The Yellow Vest demonstrations were provoked by fuel tax hikes in France in November 2018, but they quickly transitioned into a wider protest against Macron's policies and perceived economic injustice. Weekly rallies in Paris and other cities often turned violent, with French police facing accusations of using excessive force against participants.

On Sunday, thousands of people again marched in Minsk and other Belarusian cities, demanding Lukashenko's immediate resignation and a new, fair election. The police said that around 200 people were arrested across the country.