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Belarusians dispute election outcome

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 8/10/20, 04:50 am

Opposition protesters crowded the streets in the capital city of Minsk and at least 20 other cities on Sunday evening after an early vote count suggested a landslide victory for authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko. Riot police used flash grenades, tear gas, and water cannons to disperse the crowds. At least one person died and police detained hundreds of others.

Why the mass outcry? Lukashenko, often referred to as “Europe’s last dictator,” has led the former Soviet republic for the past 26 years. His government has suppressed dissent and employed secret police to crack down on any defiance. Election officials on Monday said Lukashenko won his sixth consecutive presidential term with 80 percent of the vote while his main challenger, political novice Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, finished second with about 10 percent. Tsikhanouskaya rejected the official figures and called on riot police to stop targeting the demonstrators.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Jamie Dean’s report from 2006 on the success of Belarus’s opposition despite an official crackdown.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD's Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria. Follow her on Twitter @onize_ohiks.

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