Chaos in Belarus continues, the population protests against the falsified election results, allegedly won by Alexander Lukashenko. Across the country, thousands of people take to the streets to defend their right to democracy.
In Belarus, law enforcement agencies are using increasingly harsh methods to disperse protesters, including the use of heavy special equipment against peaceful protesters. It is known that at least one person was killed during the night of 11.08 protests. Does all this mean that now Belarus is on the verge of civil war?
Photos and videos from different cities of the country show the full scale of what’s happening – police indiscriminately detain protesters and journalists, blocking the approaches to Minsk, blocking the streets and squares in the cities. Shots and explosions are constantly heard. There are many victims, taken by the activists themselves to safety zones.
Belarus: UN chief following post-election developments ‘with great concern’
The UN Secretary-General has appealed for restraint in Belarus, where ongoing clashes between police and demonstrators continue following disputed elections held on Sunday.
Protests broke out overnight in the capital, Minsk, and other cities, ahead of preliminary results announced on Monday, which showed longtime President Alexander Lukashenko had won 80 per cent of the vote, thus securing a sixth term in office.
Thousands were arrested in the protests, which continued for a second night, international media reported on Monday.
Show maximum restraint
Speaking later in the day in New York, UN Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said the Secretary-General continues to follow the situation “with great concern”.
UN chief António Guterres has urged all relevant parties to avoid actions that would further enflame tensions, and to approach the issues in the spirit of dialogue.
“The Secretary-General calls on the Belarusian authorities to show maximum restraint and to ensure full respect for the rights of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association”, Mr Dujarric told journalists.
Respect citizens’ rights
“He emphasizes the importance of its citizens exercising their rights peacefully in accordance with the law. The Secretary-General urges all relevant actors to avoid actions that would further enflame tensions and to approach the issues in the spirit of dialogue.”
President Lukashenko, 65, has been in power since 1994 and is Europe’s longest-serving leader.
His main challenger, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, accused the vote of being rigged, and has called on the President to step down, according to media reports.
The 37-year-old teacher and interpreter had no prior political experience before the election. She entered the race in July after her husband, Sergei Tikhanovsky, a popular blogger, was arrested before being able to register as a candidate.
Belarus election: Protesters met with rubber bullets, water cannon and flash grenades
Belarus’s opposition has issued a message of defiance, rejecting the results of a presidential election marred by accusations of vote-rigging. Large protests broke out soon after the polls closed. Crowds of thousands gathered to contest the results but were met with rubber bullets, water cannon, flash grenades and teargas from security forces. The main opposition candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came under heavy pressure as eight members of her staff were arrested and one of her top aides fled the country.