The primary challenger to Belarus’s Alexander Lukashenko has refused to just accept the autocratic president received 80% of the vote in Sunday’s election.
“I take into account myself the winner of this election,” Svetlana Tikhanovskaya stated.
An absence of scrutiny, with no observers current, has led to allegations of widespread vote-rigging within the ballot.
For a second night time, police fired rubber bullets to disperse protesters within the capital Minsk, eyewitnesses say. One journalist was reportedly injured.
About 30 individuals have been arrested within the capital. One witness stated they noticed cops with truncheons beat protesters.
Polish-based broadcaster Belsat TV stated a number of metro stations within the capital had been closed and the web was nonetheless principally unavailable.
Protests have been additionally being held in different Belarusian cities.
It comes after the state safety company stated it had thwarted an try on Ms Tikhanovskaya’s life. It gave no additional particulars.
Lithuanian International Minister Linas Linkevicius stated he “tried to achieve Svetlana Tikhanovskaya for a number of hours”.
“Her whereabouts not identified even to her employees. Involved about her security,” Mr Linkevicius tweeted.
The election was held amid rising frustration at Mr Lukashenko’s management, with opposition rallies attracting giant crowds. The previous days noticed a crackdown on activists and journalists.
The president has described opposition supporters as “sheep” managed from overseas, and vowed to not enable the nation to be “torn aside”.
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Mr Lukashenko received 80.23% of the vote, in keeping with election officers, with Ms Tikhanovskaya receiving 9.9%.
Ms Tikhanovskaya entered the election instead of her jailed husband and went on to steer giant opposition rallies.
What did Ms Tikhanovskaya say?
The opposition candidate stated that the election outcomes revealed on Monday morning “utterly contradict frequent sense” and the authorities ought to take into consideration methods to peacefully hand over energy.
“We now have seen that the authorities are attempting to carry on to their positions by power,” she stated.
“Irrespective of how a lot we requested authorities to not activate their very own individuals, we weren’t listened to.”
Her marketing campaign stated it might problem “quite a few falsifications” within the vote.
“The election outcomes introduced by the Central Electoral Fee don’t correspond to actuality and utterly contradict frequent sense,” her spokeswoman Anna Krasulina stated.
However Mr Lukashenko poured scorn on Ms Tikhanovskaya’s feedback.
“So Lukashenko, who’s on the prime of the facility construction and on the head of the state, after getting 80% of the vote should voluntarily hand over energy to them,” the president stated. “The orders are coming from over there [abroad].”
“Our response will likely be strong,” he added. “We won’t enable the nation to be torn aside.”
What has the worldwide response been?
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated his Belarusian counterpart on his victory, regardless of friction over accusations of a Russian plot which Mr Lukashenko has tried to hyperlink to the opposition.
The leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Moldova and Azerbaijan have despatched messages of assist.
However the German authorities stated it had “robust doubts” concerning the election and that minimal requirements weren’t met.
The US stated it was “deeply involved” by the election and urged the federal government to “respect the correct to peacefully assemble and to chorus from using power”.
European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen referred to as for the election outcomes to be revealed.
“Harassment and violent repression of peaceable protesters has no place in Europe,” she stated.
What occurred in Sunday’s protests?
Demonstrators took to the streets in central Minsk as quickly as voting ended.
Police used stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannon to disperse the crowds.
The inside ministry stated 50 civilians and 39 police have been injured.
The ministry stated that three,000 individuals have been arrested. About one-third of them have been in Minsk, and the remaining in different cities corresponding to Brest, Gomel and Grodno the place related protests occurred.
What is the context?
President Lukashenko has been in energy since 1994.
Within the final vote in 2015, he was declared winner with 83.5% of the vote. There have been no critical challengers and election observers reported issues within the counting and tabulation of votes.
The marketing campaign noticed the rise of Ms Tikhanovskaya, 37, a former instructor who grew to become a stay-at-home mom till she was thrust into the political highlight.
After her husband was arrested and blocked from registering for the vote, she stepped in to take his place.
As individuals voted on Sunday, web service was “considerably disrupted”, in keeping with on-line monitor NetBlocks. Opposition supporters say this makes it more durable for proof of election fraud to be collected and shared.
There have been already considerations over an absence of scrutiny as a result of observers weren’t invited to watch the election and greater than 40% of votes have been forged forward of the election.
Tens of hundreds defied an escalating crackdown on the opposition final month to attend a protest in Minsk, the biggest such demonstration in a decade.
Anger in the direction of Mr Lukashenko’s authorities has been partially fuelled by its response to coronavirus.
The president has downplayed the outbreak, advising residents to drink vodka and use saunas to battle the illness.
Belarus, which has a inhabitants of 9.5 million, has reported almost 70,000 instances and virtually 600 deaths.