Protests in Belarus as disputed early election results give President Lukashenko an overwhelming victory

Within the capital, Minsk, live feeds from Radio Free Europe demonstrated riot police utilizing tear gas & stun grenades to dispel protesters.

After polls closed Sun., the head of Belarus’ central election commission Lydia Yermoshina stated on the Belarus-One TV channel that Lukashenko has been ahead in 5 areas with regarding 82% of the vote. Officer exit polls posted by state-owned press agency Belta put Lukashenko in regarding 80% of the vote — with his own main rival, opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, in regarding 7%.
Tikhanovskaya, 37, stated in a information conference late Sun. that she didn’t agree with the results. Her campaign retained that she’d won in dozens of polling stations in Minsk in that phase.
Supervising company Golos stated it counted over a mln ballots &, as per its calculations, Tikhanovskaya won 80% of the vote.
Final results are because of be declared Mon..
Tikhanovskaya, a previous English tutor, had become an unexpected rival & the face of the opposition after taking over from her spouse, Sergey Tikhanovskiy, a famous YouTube blogger & previous candidate who was jailed from May.
Her campaign protests saw substantial turnouts even in small Belarusian towns not well-known for their own dissent activity. Regarding 63,000 citizens participated the highest event in Minsk in Jul — creating it the largest demonstration in the last decade.
Tikhanovskaya joined enforces with 2 ladies who ran different opposition campaigns after their own students have been also either barred from racing (or) jailed. Lukashenko had dismissed them as “poverty-stricken ladies” in his own annual state of the union address on Tue. & stated he’ll not “give the nation far away.”
The night before the election, Tikhanovskaya’s campaign stated she fled her apartment & went into hiding because of safety issues after police arrested multiple of its Sr. employees. Critics named the move an trying to intimidate the opposition in front of the critical vote. Her adviser, Veronika Tsepkalo, fled Belarus for Moscow for safety reasons, the campaign stated on Sun..
Tikhanovskaya’s campaign manager Maria Kolesnikova has been also taken to a PS (police station) for questioning on the eve of the vote. A day prior to that, campaign manager Maria Moroz has been briefly arrested.
Nicknamed “Europe’s last dictator,” Lukashenko has decided the previous Soviet republic of over nine mln citizens from 1994. He’s long drawn Intl. criticism for suppressing protest, & the nation’s secret police — still referred to as the KGB — frequently confine & harass opposition activists & independent reporters.
Within the run-up to the election, law enforcement seemingly stepped up its crackdown measures as riot police made several arrests to break up impromptu demonstrations over the President. Regional media outlets alerted of a possible net shutdown in complaint rallies erupted around the nation.
Framed as one such toughest problems to Lukashenko’s 26-year-long rule, it has been the Belarus strongman’s 6th reelection campaign. Large number of opposition supporters had poured onto the streets in previous weeks to voice discontent with the nation’s economic status, poverty-stricken COVID-19 reaction, & lack of personal freedoms & reforms.
The poll saw a massive turnout, as per officer statistics, with the nation’s Central Elections Committee reporting 65.19% turnout as of two p.m. regional time Sun..
Yet net enter was mostly restricted, & has been completely shut down in central Minsk, as per regional records.
NetBlocks, an NGO that tracks net shutdowns world-wide, stated in a tweet late Sun., “Several net providers in #Belarus have lost routing as polling stations begin to close from 8:00 p.m; geolocated network statistics affirm the new interruption has nation-scale effect furthermore limiting visibility of events.”
Most apps & sites have been taking longer to burden, involving Whatsapp, Viber, & Facebook(FB) Messenger. Telegram Messenger, that serves as the main
communication tool for the Belarusian opposition, has been unavailable in times (or) only accessible via proxy servers.
Independent observers in Belarus, like the “Honest citizens” volunteer supervising crowd, stated they also identified substantial discrepancies between the officially declared turnout & the amount of citizens accessing polling stations that they have been able to count.
Most independent observers have been barred from supervising the election. Dozens of independent observers have been arrested on Sat. & early Sun., as per the “Honest citizens” & “Right to choose” initiatives.
The Company for Security & Cooperation in Europe stated in Jul it’d not be sending observers to Belarus as it had not being invited by this nation’s officials.
The foreign govt departments of France, Germany & Poland stated they’d be supervising the elections with “nice worry” because of “worrying records of electoral malfunctions throughout early voting.” The 3 nations stated the European Council has been also not permitted to oversee the electoral procedure.

Leave a Comment