Belarus election – Riots erupt as Europe’s last dictator Alexander Lukashenko wins landslide in ‘rigged’ vote
AT least one person is dead as protesters clashed with riot police in Belarus after an exit poll showed leader Alexander Lukashenko had been re-elected.
Shocking pictures from capital Minsk, show police using stun grenades in a bid to control rioters with reports that dozens have been injured.
Lukashenko, who has ruled the country for 26 years, won the election with 80 per cent of the vote, the election commission said today.
However, there are fears the vote was rigged after two opposition candidates were denied spots on the ballot before one was jailed and the other fled to Russia.
At least one person was killed after being knocked over by a police van and many more were injured in the clashes that began in several cities after polling stations closed on Sunday.
Lukashenko, dubbed Europe’s last dictator, has been widely condemned for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic which he said could be treated with saunas and vodka.
Yet despite growing public anger, the long-time leader is set to win a landslide.
Candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, 37, a former English teacher, who emerged from obscurity to become Lukashenko’s main rival, won 9.9 per cent of the vote, the official data showed.
She told reporters: “I believe my eyes, and I see that the majority is with us.”
Tikhanouskaya entered the race after her husband, an anti-government blogger who intended to run, was jailed.
Her rallies have drawn some of the biggest crowds since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Prison van transporting lag crashes with HGV leaving four people trapped
Human rights groups say more than 1,300 people were detained in the crackdown ahead of the election, including independent election observers and members of Tikhanouskaya’s campaign team.
After casting his vote on Sunday, Lukashenko denied imposing repressive measures as “fake news or far-fetched accusations”
According to official figures, Belarus has suffered 587 coronavirus deaths from 68,850 cases.