Tension has risen again in Belarus. Clashes pitted, Monday, August 10, in Minsk, for the second consecutive evening, the police and demonstrators protesting against the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko.
About thirty people were arrested. In power since 1994, Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected with more than 80% of the vote, the authorities of the former Soviet republic announced. His main opponent, Svetlana Tikhanouskaïa rejected the official results, asking the president to cede power.
"Power must think about how to cede power to us. I consider myself the winner," said the 37-year-old opponent, to whom the Election Commission awarded about 10% of the vote.
If she accused the regime of "maintaining itself by force" after the repression of demonstrations on the night of Sunday to Monday, Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa will not join any new protests, while calls to this effect are circulating online. "She will not participate (...) since the authorities could organize any provocation to stop her," said the candidate's spokesperson, Anna Krassoulina.
Paris calls on the authorities to "exercise the utmost restraint"
On the previous night, thousands of protesters came under fire with stun grenades and rubber bullets by police in Minsk, leaving dozens injured.
Faced with calls to demonstrate, Monday evening, broadcast on social networks and despite limited access to the Internet since Sunday, the police cordoned off the center of Minsk, especially around the Stela monument, epicenter of the violence of the day before. Metro stations were closed, and riot forces were present in large numbers.
See also >> Presidential election in Belarus: Alexander Lukashenko challenged by the awakening of the opposition
France called on Monday the Belarusian authorities to "the utmost restraint" after the violent repression of the opposition on Sunday evening. "We observe with concern the violence which has been opposed to Belarusian citizens who left to demonstrate after the closing of the polling stations, and call for the utmost restraint," said a spokesperson for the French Foreign Ministry.
Similarly, the United Kingdom also called on the Belarusian government to "refrain from further acts of violence" following the presidential election, of which it denounces "serious irregularities".
At the same time, Russia hailed the re-election of Alexander Loukachenko, as did Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who congratulates the Head of State, acknowledging him as an "incontestable victory".
With AFP and Reuters
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