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Opposition Candidate in Belarus Election Flees to Lithuania

August 11, 2020, 04.47 PM

MINSK, - The top opposition candidate in the Belarus election has fled to Lithuania in wake of protests in Belarus following the disputed election results.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has refused to concede her defeat though Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius tweeted that the candidate is “safe” in Lithuania.

The protests in Belarus have been met with a brutal police crackdown after Sunday’s results show that President Alexander Lukashenko won a landslide victory.

Read also: Protests in Belarus Following Disputed Presidential Election Results

The authoritarian leader is now due to take up his sixth term in office. The Belarusian police have faced off with thousands of opposition supporters in Minsk and several other cities in the country for two consecutive nights.

On Monday, a protester died amid the clashes in Minsk and scores were injured as police used tear gas, flash-bang grenades, and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrators.

Interior Ministry spokesman Alexander Lastovsky said the victim intended to throw an explosive device, but it blew up in his hand and killed him.

Lukashenko, who has led the ex-Soviet nation of 9.5 million with an iron fist since 1994, derided the opposition as “sheep” manipulated by foreign masters and vowed to continue the tough crackdown on protests despite Western rebukes.

Read also: Defense Minister Prabowo Remains Chairman of Indonesia’s Gerindra Party

Election officials said Lukashenko won a sixth term in office with 80 percent of the vote, while Tsikhanouskaya got 10 percent.

When asked on Monday if she was planning to go abroad to avoid being arrested, Tsikhanouskaya said she had no such plan and saw no reason why she would be arrested.

But after submitting her formal demand for a recount to Belarus’ Central Election Commission, she told her allies: “I have made a decision, I must be with my children.”

She had previously sent her children to an unspecified European country after receiving threats.

“She has the right to make any choice,” Tsikhanouskaya's campaign spokeswoman, Anna Krasulina, told The Associated Press Tuesday.

“She has done great things for the country. She has woken up the Belarusians.”


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