Mon, 26 February 2024

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Number 10 hits out at Belarus government over 'completely unacceptable' violence against election protestors

Protestors clashed with police overnight

2 min read

Downing Street has hit out at the Belarus government over “completely unacceptable” violence against protestors following a controversial presidential election.

Number 10 condemend the "anti-democratic actions" of Belarus's President Alexander Lukashenko after a night of violence between police and protestors following a contested election result.

The authoritian leader, who has ruled the country for 26 years, claimed to have won a landslide victory on Sunday, with an exit poll suggesting he had secured almost 80% of the vote.

But the result was contested by the country's main opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, sparking major protests in the country's capital, Minsk, which saw police using stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannons against demonstrators.

Ms Tsikhanouskaya has already called for clashes between protestors and police to end, urging her supporters to challenge the result by "legal means".

The opposition figure had been forced to enter hiding on the evening before polls opened after Belarusian security services arrested nine of her campaign staff.

A spokesperson for Boris Johnson said the UK government planned to raise its "significant concerns" about the election result with the Belarusian government.

"The violence we've seen overnight in Belarus, and the attempts by the Belarusian authorities to suppress protests are completely unacceptable," they said.

"We have previously made clear on many occasions, our significant concerns about Belarus's anti-democratic actions, including the detention of opposition candidates, peaceful protesters and journalists.

"We're raising our concerns, again, with the government of Belarus following these protests."

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