Belarus Supreme Court refuses to annul results of disputed vote
Opposition claims falsifications and violence by security forces
In Belarus, after voting day at the presidential elections in the country and opposition protests that swept across the country in the evening and at night, preliminary official election results were announced.
According to the chairman of the Central Election Commission of Belarus, Lidia Yermoshina, 80.23% of voters had previously voted for the incumbent President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, 9.9% of voters for the main opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Yermoshina also said that the official results will be summed up by the end of the week..
The opposition in Belarus calls this result unrealistic, and the elections – rigged.
As reported by Radio Liberty, an alternative count, which was conducted on the Internet platform “Golos” organized by the activists, gave the opposite results: about 80% of the votes for Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Approximately one million Belarusian voters have registered on the “Golos” and announced the results of their voting. More than 6.8 million people are included in the voter lists in Belarus.
Belarusians who voted abroad, according to the Exitpol Abroad project, gave Svetlana Tikhanovskaya almost 87 percent of the vote, while Alexander Lukashenko got less than 4 percent.
The head of the Investigative Committee of Belarus Ivan Noskevich said on Monday that his department had opened criminal cases “on the facts of riots and violence against the police.” This was reported by the media portal Tut.by.
Noskevich said that “dozens” of police officers were injured, and the clashes between the protesters and the police “were accompanied … by the destruction of property, resistance to representatives of the authorities.”.
At the same time, numerous footage from the scene of events in Minsk testifies to beatings by the police of individual citizens and entire groups that went out to peaceful protest..
The night of collisions
Police in Minsk fired flash grenades and rubber bullets at night to disperse numerous demonstrators, while longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko appears poised to announce a massive election victory.
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Minsk and other cities in the country after a state exit poll showed that Lukashenko won just under 80 percent of the vote in Sunday’s elections, while his main rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya only got about 7 percent..
Tikhanovskaya, a 37-year-old housewife and political newcomer, rallied the opposition during her election campaign, leading tens of thousands of supporters to the largest demonstrations in this country in many years..
In Minsk, protesters gathered at a monument in the city center, where they formed human chains, an AFP journalist and eyewitnesses said. They were opposed by hundreds of riot police officers with shields.
In a live broadcast of Radio Liberty, police were seen using flashbangs and advancing to disperse the crowd. Many people run away at the same time. The channel posted photos of young demonstrators with bloody faces and bodies..
AFP reporter saw at least one protester being treated and others being dragged away by riot police.
Opposition media published a video of a police van driving into a crowd and knocking down a protester.
Government buildings in Minsk were cordoned off, local residents reported internet cuts and widespread communication problems, and photos of military convoys on the roads leading to the capital were posted on social media..
According to videos on social networks, security forces used water cannons, and there were reports of shooting with rubber bullets..
After hours of rallies, the state news agency BelTA reported, citing the Interior Ministry, that the police were in control of the situation. By three o’clock in the morning, protests in the capital have mostly died down.
The head of the human rights center Viasna, Ales Bialiatski, said several people were injured and accused the police of using excessive force against mostly young demonstrators..
“The reaction of the police was disproportionately tough, they acted with full force,” he told AFP.
At a press conference held after the closure of the sites, Tikhanovskaya said she did not trust the results.
“I believe my eyes. Most are for us, ”she said. – We have already won, because we have conquered our fear, our apathy, apathy and indifference.
She urged law enforcement officials to stop using force.
Her ally Maria Kolesnikova said that “the government is incapable of running the country” and that the country is facing an “unprecedented” political crisis.
Preliminary election results have not yet been announced, although the head of the CEC previously announced that she expects them on Monday night..
Lukashenko, who is running for a sixth term, has warned the opposition that he is not going to give up his “beloved” Belarus, while security measures have been dramatically increased in the capital.
Tikhanovskaya decided to run for president after the authorities imprisoned her husband, popular blogger Sergei Tikhanovsky, by banning him from running in the elections..
Huge queues formed Sunday afternoon at polling stations in Minsk and other cities, after Tikhanovskaya urged her supporters to vote in the last hours to give the authorities less chance of falsifying the results..
Many wore white ribbons on their hands, which became a symbol of the opposition.
Tikhanovskaya said that if she wins, she will free political prisoners and appoint new elections in which all opposition representatives can take part..
Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, has pledged to maintain order, suggesting that his opponents may be planning unrest..
“Nothing will get out of control. This I guarantee you. You can have no doubt about it, no matter what individual people are planning here, ”he said after taking part in the voting..
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