Protests erupted in Belarus after its President of more than 20 years; Alexander Lukashenko announced his recent victory a landslide.
Lukashenko claims that more than 80% of the eligible voters voted for him in the elections.
However, the opposition challenges this claim and asserts that the real winner is his number one rival, former schoolteacher, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
What Is Happening Right Now?
On Tuesday, citizens done with Lukashenko’s rule went back to the streets to protest the result.
However, violence ensued between the police and protesters.
Protesters accuse law enforcement entities of police brutality due to law enforcement’s method of dispersing demonstrators.
In Belarus’ capital city of Minsk, witnesses reported riot police used stun grenades, rubber bullets, and unwarranted force against protesters, the Jakarta Post reported.
According to a BBC report, police who are trying to disperse the demonstrators use live bullets, aside from tear gas.
Lukashenko accused the demonstrators of conspiring against the Belarusian government.
According to him, people opposing him have foreign countries backing, and want to see his government fall.
Lukashenko’s popularity has been on the decline recently, mainly because of his response to COVID-19.
At one point, he even advised the citizens to drink vodka to fight the coronavirus.
Thousands Of People Detained
Aside from police brutality, protesters are also detained, reports said.
Protesters consist of the “unemployed” and “people with criminal history,” Lukashenko said during a government meeting on Wednesday, Al Jazeera reported.
According to Jakarta Post, riot police in Belarus reported that they had detained more than a hundred people on Wednesday.
However, according to reports, there were approximately 6,000 people detained for the past three days, said Michelle Bachelet, UN Rights chief, via an Al Jazeera report.
Reports also say that one of the protesters died while in custody due to injuries.
Tikhanovskaya, Lukashenko’s main rival in the elections, was also detained last Monday.
Tikhanovskaya was taken for detention after she attempted to file a complaint about the election results, BBC reported.
She was in detention for seven hours.
After that, the state media released a video of her, asking people to “obey the law,” BBC reported.
Reports from the opposition said that the Tikhanovskaya was under pressure when the video was recorded.
Tikhanovskaya is now in Lithuania.
What The International Community Says
Recently, the European Union released a statement on the Belarus elections.
According to them, “the elections were neither free nor fair.”
The EU is also looking into “taking measures against” people accountable for the violence in Belarus.
The United Nations also condemned the Belarus government on its action against its people.
“State authorities must allow and facilitate the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and not repress it,” said Bachelet, UN’s top rights officer.