News ID: 272706
Published: 0218 GMT August 10, 2020

President says authorities won't let Belarus be torn apart as protests erupt after election

President says authorities won't let Belarus be torn apart as protests erupt after election
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko holds a ballot and a passport before casting his vote at a polling station during the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, on August 9, 2020.

President Alexander Lukashenko said on Monday that authorities would not let Belarus be ripped apart by instability after huge protests erupted following a presidential election on Sunday, Reuters quoted BelTA as reporting.

Opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanouskaya has rejected the official results handing Lukashenko a landslide victory, saying the poll was rigged and that protests which turned bloody on Sunday would continue.

The response will be appropriate. We wont allow the country to be torn apart,” Lukashenko was quoted by BelTA as saying.

Police in Belarus detained 3,000 people for taking part in unauthorized gatherings during demonstrations on Sunday, the Interior Ministry said, accusing some protesters of sparking clashes with police, AFP reported.

The ministry said in a statement that 1,000 of the detentions were in the capital Minsk and the rest in other parts of the country.

It said protesters in Minsk had lit flares, erected barricades, scattered nails and spikes on roads and thrown objects including paving stones at police.

Fifty civilians and 39 police officers were injured in clashes in the capital, it said.

"Some of the citizens taken to the country's medical institutions were intoxicated.

"No military weapons were used against the perpetrators. There were no fatalities," the ministry said.

Minsk police used stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas overnight to disperse thousands rallying in support of the opposition challenger.

The rights group Viasna said Monday that a protester had been killed in the crackdown after suffering a traumatic head injury when he was hit by a police vehicle.


Global reactions



Russian and Chinese presidents sent congratulations to Lukashenko, AFP reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent congratulations to Lukashenko, the Kremlin said, expressing hope for "the further development of mutually beneficial Russian-Belarusian relations in all areas.

Chinese President Xi Jinping also sent his congratulatory message to Lukashenko on his reelection, saying that he highly values the development of China-Belarus ties, reported Xinhua on Monday.

Xi added that he stands ready to work with President Lukashenko in jointly advancing strategic partnership between both sides, and to expand mutually beneficial cooperation between the countries.

From Brussels, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urged Minsk "to ensure that the votes in yesterday's [Sunday] election are counted and published accurately."

"Fundamental rights in Belarus must be respected," the former German defense minister tweeted.

A separate EU statement declared that "election night was marred with disproportionate and unacceptable state violence against peaceful protesters."

The EU's largest country Germany has "strong doubts – and from our point of view justified doubts – about the... conduct of these elections", Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

"Minimum standards for democratic elections were not met" and this was "not acceptable", Seibert added.

"The numerous reports of systematic irregularities and violations of electoral law are credible... the political leadership of the country must accept the will of its citizens," he said.

Belarus' largest EU neighbor Poland called for the bloc to hold an emergency summit on the country.

Latvia, another of Belarus' EU neighbors that also once lay east of the Iron Curtain, also backed demonstrators.

Czech Republic Premier Andrej Babis called the police repression of Belarusian demonstrators "a type of action that has no place in current Europe".




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