Belarusian police on Sunday used water cannons to disperse the hundreds of demonstrators who gathered on the streets of the capital Minsk to protest the first election results, which gave the winner more than 80 percent of the vote with the president Alexander Lukashenko, confirming his mandate for the sixth time in a row since he first took power in 1994.
Protests and demonstrations have taken place in various parts of the country, for example in Grodno or Brest, since shortly after the polling stations closed at 8 p.m. local time. The results showed that Lukashenko received 81.3 percent of the vote, far ahead of opposition leader Svetlana Tijanovskaya, with 8 percent after a turnout of more than 84 percent, according to the Central Election Commission.
Suspicions of electoral fraud have sparked elections marked by protests over the past few weeks over the arrest and persecution of multiple opponents, including popular blogger Sergei Tijanovski, Tijanovskaya’s husband, who was convicted of a crime before sentencing in May incitement to violence, he wanted to appear in the elections.
Tijanovskaya’s candidacy has suffered further setbacks in the past few hours after her campaign manager Maria Kolesnikova was “accidentally” arrested in front of the party’s offices the day before the elections, according to authorities.