Anger and Protest Over a Presidential Election in Belarus

In the last week and a half, thousands of protesters have filled the streets of Minsk and other cities in Belarus, voicing their anger over the widely disputed results of a presidential election. President Alexander Lukashenko, the authoritarian ruler of Belarus for the past 26 years, was declared the winner with 80 percent of the vote, giving him a sixth term in office. The main opposition candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, fled to Lithuania shortly after the election, as protesters on the street were beaten by riot police and arrested by the thousands. In the following days, crowds attended some of the largest protests in the country’s history, with people demanding the resignation of Lukashenko, the release of political prisoners, and an end to police brutality. A number of groups of workers have staged strikes in support of the protests as well, building some momentum. President Lukashenko has not ceded any ground, and government prosecutors have now opened criminal cases against opposition leaders.

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