Lukashenko Wins Elections, Police Clashes with Protesters

On Monday, Aleksandr Lukashenko, the ruler of Belarus since 1994, claimed an overwhelming win in the presidential elections of Belarus, defeating his challenger Svetlana Tikhanovskaya with 80% of the vote.

Lukashenko’s most probable win was announced, as a prediction, on Sunday, angering a large part of the country’s population. Hours after the national vote, protestors took to the streets, demanding the resignation of the President, who has been in power for over 26 years. Although they were largely peaceful, the police clashed with demonstrators across the country.  

The forces used stun grenades and rubber bullets against the group of protestors in the country’s capital Minsk. It was reported by the New York Times that a police truck drove directly into the group of demonstrators, hitting them and leaving people bloodied. The police made seemingly arbitrary arrests: 1,000 people were arrested in Minsk and another 2,000 in the regions, according to officials. There have also been reports on those left injured: 50 citizens and 39 police officers were hurt during the clashes.

It has also been speculated that one of the protestors was killed. Russia’s Tass state news agency claimed that a Belarus human-rights group, Vesna, said that one demonstrator died after being being run over by the police truck. However, the Health Ministry of Belarus claims there were no deaths during the armed police vs. peaceful protestors clash.

On Monday, Lukashenko showed no desire to loosen the reins. Insisting that the protestors were being directed by foreigners who wish to replicate the uprising that began at Kyiv’s Maidan square in Ukraine, six years ago, Lukashenko vowed that he will not let the country be torn apart.

“We will not allow the country to be torn apart,” Mr. Lukashenko said in comments carried by Belarus’s state news agency, Belta. “As I have warned, there will be no Maidan, no matter how much anyone wants one. People need to quiet down and calm down.”

Tikhanovskaya, Lukashenko's main challenger, decided to run against him when her husband was put in prison and was unable to register his candidacy for the presidential elections. She said at a news conference on Monday that she believed the official results were false and that it was she, in fact, who had won, Tass reported. She also announced she would be appealing the results of the election. There have been recent reports that the rising politician is currently missing - Linas Linkevicius, the minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, tweeted on Monday night:

“Tried to reach Svetlana #Tikhanovskaya for several hours. Her whereabouts not known even to her staff. Concerned about her safety. #Belarus.”

By Nini Dakhundaridze

Source: NPR, The New York Times

Image source: Shutterstock


10 August 2020 23:40