Belarus police used teargas and flash grenades to disperse demonstrators who gathered in the capital Minsk to protest incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko’s projected election victory, according to preliminary results.
Lukashenko is projected to received 81.35 percent of the vote, while main opposition candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, is expected to get 8 percent. She refused to acknowledge her defeat saying the results from three polling stations where “there were no falsifications” showed that she was winning.
This sentiment was shared by many in the capital as angry people started gathering in Minsk center and in other cities throughout the country.
The rallies started with people gathering outside polling stations, chanting “Shame on you” to members of electoral commissions as they were escorted out by the police after finishing the ballot count. Other videos showed crowds shouting “Go away” and “You are not Belarus,” addressing President Lukashenko.
But by midnight hundreds gathered in one of the main squares of Minsk. Tensions quickly rose with reports of clashes and riot police using flashbang grenades against the demonstrators, who pelted bottles and other projectiles in return.
Several arrests were made. The police said that one of its officers was hurt in the scuffles, with videos from the scene showing bloodied demonstrators. Several ambulances were seen heading to the area. Protests also took place in other cities across the country, including Gomel, Mogilev, and Vitebsk. The police reportedly used tear gas and other means to disperse the crowds, while making arrests.
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