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World Police crack down on protesters in Belarus following contested election

04:15  10 august  2020
04:15  10 august  2020 Source:   abcnews.go.com

Moscow denies links between Belarus opposition and alleged Russian mercenaries, RIA says

  Moscow denies links between Belarus opposition and alleged Russian mercenaries, RIA says Moscow denies links between Belarus opposition and alleged Russian mercenaries, RIA saysRIA also reported that Russian diplomats met the 33 suspected mercenaries arrested in Belarus.

Amid chaotic protests in Belarus , several disturbing videos posted online show a police van rolling through a crowd with a man hanging on its hood for several chilling seconds before falling near – or under – the wheels. Sunday unrest follows a contested presidential election , in which the

Belarus police used teargas, flash grenades to disperse protesters in the capital Minsk, disagreeing with the incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko’s victory in elections , according to preliminary results. Lukashenko is projected to received 81.35 percent of the vote

Protests in Belarus broke out Sunday against the results of a presidential election that gave the country's authoritarian leader, Alexander Lukashenko, an overwhelming majority of the vote amid accusations of widespread ballot rigging.

a group of people sitting at a desk: Protesters help paramedics to carry a wounded person into an ambulance after clashes with police in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. © Sergei Grits/AP Protesters help paramedics to carry a wounded person into an ambulance after clashes with police in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020.

Photos and videos from the scene showed hundreds of heavily armored riot police and military units violently dispersing throngs of demonstrators gathered in the capital of Minsk shortly after exit polls were announced on Sunday evening.

Belarus erupts in protest after opposition alleges rigged election

  Belarus erupts in protest after opposition alleges rigged election The Eastern European nation has been led by the same man, Alexander Lukashenko, since 1994.Following the vote, in which the leading opposition candidate scored just single digits, thousands took to the streets of Minsk, Reuters reported.

Follow RT on. The polls have closed in the presidential election in Belarus , which took place amid Many in Belarus complained they were unable to get in due to long lines, but authorities decided that prolonging Lukashenko was accused of cracking down on opposition and media ahead of the vote.

Follow RT on. Riot police have deployed flashbang grenades against protesters , who tried to erect barricades in central Minsk, as thousands of people across Belarus poured into the streets furious over preliminary presidential election results. Protesters were pushed away from the Victory Square in

Videos posted to social media by journalists showed lines of police, carrying shields, advancing on peaceful crowds in central Minsk.

Police had sealed off some streets and videos showed them using stun grenades and water cannons to try to scatter protesters.

MORE: 'Europe's last dictator' up for reelection, faces unprecedented challenge to his rule

The protests began shortly after a state exit poll showed Lukashenko winning by 79.7% of the vote with just 6.8% going to his main opposition rival, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who has been leading a groundswell movement to remove him.

Lithuania says Russia is using Belarus crisis to try to draw it closer into its orbit

  Lithuania says Russia is using Belarus crisis to try to draw it closer into its orbit Lithuania says Russia is using Belarus crisis to try to draw it closer into its orbitPresident Vladimir Putin said on Monday he wanted neighbouring Belarus to reactivate stalled plans for more integration with Russia after a contested election win left Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, an on-off Russian ally, on the defensive.

Hundreds of people have been arrested in Belarus , following protests against the exclusion of the two main opposition candidates from next month’s election .

Clashes broke out between police and protesters in Belarus after a presidential election on Sunday that saw longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko face the Several thousand protesters gathered near a central monument in the capital Minsk, where they faced off with hundreds of riot police with shields.

Sunday's vote was preceded by weeks of opposition rallies that have been the largest political protests in Belarus since the fall of the Soviet Union, and were seen as an unprecedented challenge to Lukashenko who has already been in power for 26 years.

a group of people sitting on a stage: Protesters help paramedics to carry a wounded person into an ambulance after clashes with police in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. © Sergei Grits/AP Protesters help paramedics to carry a wounded person into an ambulance after clashes with police in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020.

The picture from inside the country was confusing: On Sunday the internet was partly shut down for most of the day, and by evening many social media platforms and messaging apps were not working. The websites of some of Belarus' largest independent media outlets were also unreachable. Belarus' government had declined to give journalists from most foreign news organizations permission to work in the country ahead of the vote.

There were reports of protests in a number of cities across the country, and videos on social media and showed crowds of protests marching and chanting.

Belarus Faces Risk of EU Sanctions Amid Election Protests

  Belarus Faces Risk of EU Sanctions Amid Election Protests European Union foreign ministers will hold a special meeting on Friday to discuss the unstable situation in Belarus, with some floating renewed sanctions from the bloc. © AFP via Getty Images A woman stands in front of servicemen during a rally of opposition supporters in Minsk on Aug. 11. The EU “lifted sanctions against Belarus because the country had taken steps in the right direction,” German Foreign Minster Heiko Maas said on Tuesday in Moscow.

Hundreds of people have been arrested in Belarus , following protests against the exclusion of the two main opposition candidates from next month’s election .

Hundreds of people have been arrested in Belarus , following protests against the exclusion of the two main opposition candidates from next month’s election .

Tikhanovskaya, whom the opposition had unified behind, was moved to an undisclosed location in Belarus on the eve of the vote, amid signs that police were moving to arrest her. Her campaign said several of its members had been detained as voting began on Sunday morning.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Opposition supporters protest after polls closed in Belarus' presidential election, in Minsk on August 9, 2020. © Sergei Gapon/AFP via Getty Images Opposition supporters protest after polls closed in Belarus' presidential election, in Minsk on August 9, 2020.

On Sunday Tikhanovskaya briefly emerged to vote at a polling station then went back into hiding before the protests broke out.

A former teacher until a few months ago, Tikhanovskaya was a stay-at-home mother but became a candidate after her husband, a popular blogger, was jailed and barred from running. She had joined with two other women, Maria Kolesnikova, and Veronika Tsepkalo, to focus an unprecedented wave of dissatisfaction against Lukashenko.

Her ally Tsepkalo left Belarus on Sunday for Moscow, where her husband, Valery Tsepkalo, another opposition leader barred from running, is already in self-exile with their children.

Belarus: a second death among the demonstrators, the center of Minsk cordoned off

 Belarus: a second death among the demonstrators, the center of Minsk cordoned off The victim was arrested during a rally against the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko. This protest movement is violently repressed. © Sergei GAPON Opposition supporters demonstrate after the closing of polling stations, Sunday August 9, 2020 in Minsk. The tension does not fall in Belarus .

Hundreds of people have been arrested in Belarus , following protests against the exclusion of the two main opposition candidates from next month’s election .

Hundreds of people have been arrested in Belarus , following protests against the exclusion of the two main opposition candidates from next month’s election .

MORE: Dozens arrested in Belarus amid unusual signs of political unrest

Tikhanovskaya's supporters denounced the landslide result for Lukashenko as fabricated, and said their own exit polls showed a majority of Belarusians had voted for Tikhanovskaya.

Late Sunday Tikhanovskaya called on Belarus' security forces to stop using violence against protesters.

"I know that Belarusians tomorrow will already wake up in a new country, and I hope that tomorrow there will only be good news. Please stop the violence," Tikhanovskaya told the Belarusian news site Tut.by.

She also called on her own supporters to be alert for "provocations" that would give the police grounds to use force against them.

MORE: Video: Belarus resists lockdown measures

None of the previous five elections under Lukashenko have been deemed free and fair by international observers, and few observers had expected the government would announce anything other than a substantial win for the former collective farm manager this time around.

Opposition observers pointed to the record number of early votes -- an unprecedented 40% according to Belarus' central elections commission -- as a sign of widespread ballot stuffing.

Ahead of the vote, European countries including France, Germany and Poland called on Belarus' government to respect Belarusians right to free elections.

Belarus: Hundreds form 'lines of solidarity' with protesters

  Belarus: Hundreds form 'lines of solidarity' with protesters MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Hundreds of people were back on the streets of Belarus' capital on Thursday morning in a show of solidarity with protests against an election many say was rigged to extend the rule of the country's authoritarian leader. In several areas of Minsk, large groups of women formed long “lines of solidarity." More than 100 women carrying flowers and portraits of their loved ones detained during protests gathered in the southwestern part of the city, where police had shot rubber bullets at people chanting and clapping on balconies the night before. “Belarusians have seen the villainous face of this government.

Before the result was announced, Lukashenko said he did not expect foreign countries to recognize it. Ahead of the election he had threatened to use force against demonstrators, denouncing the opposition as backed by foreign powers and accusing them of seeking to foment a revolution.


Video: Police, protesters clash in Belarus capital after vote (AFP)

Freed detainees in Belarus describe harrowing beatings, abuse .
People caught up in the Belarus crackdown tell of days without food and group beatings. Belarus' security forces said they have detained around 7,000 people since last Sunday's contested election that triggered protests in the former Soviet country. Those detained have told media, including ABC News, of witnessing organized beatings, and people kept for days without food and threatened with rape. Detainees have described being kept in overcrowded cells, in some cases 30 people or more packed into cells designed for two to six.

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