Belarusian police authorities have officially pronounced that 6,000 people have been arrested with at least one dead in the tumultuous violent reactions to the most recent presidential election results. The country’s authoritarian dictator Alexander Lukashenko won over the Belarusian population by an astounding 80% of the total votes.
However, his reign over the former Soviet country spanning 26 years, has been met with more and more unpopular retributions, sparking the legitimate assumption that his overwhelming victory may have been fraudulent.Opposition groups have been quick to point out that throughout the country, the ballot was rigged with numerous cases of stuffing and fraud.
An independent group has moved forward with the claim from their monitors of the country’s election process that the opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskay was supposed to have won according to the exit polls of over 80 placements in Belarus.
The protesters who took the streets are demanding a total recount of the posted ballots.
Arresting thousands of people in the first night of unrest, periodically shutting down internet access and employing what the European Union called a “disproportionate” use of force has been observed by the outside panels, especially sparking worries from the officials at the European Union and the United Nations.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet condemned the official approach, saying that “the use of force during protests should always be exceptional and a measure of last resort, clearly differentiating between any violent individuals and peaceful protesters, against whom force should not be used.
The European Union and the United States are both considering enacting sanctions on Belarus for its response, while autocratic regimes like Russia and China have voiced support for Lukashenko.
Lukashenko has downplayed accusations of violently cracking down on his opponents. He said he still enjoys widespread support and warned Belarusians that they should not be taking part in unsanctioned rallies. But his opponents say otherwise.
“They have used water cannons, stun grenades, rubber bullets, tear gas,” Alex Kokcharov, a political risk analyst at IHS Markit, who specializes in Belarus, has mentioned in a media interview.
“I think the response by the police is to cause some casualties, such as injuries, which would demotivate a lot of people from attending the protests.” Lukashenko is supported for now by the elite classes, but what would “crack” them “is widespread civic disobedience movement such as long-term labor strikes in state-owned enterprises and transportation networks,” Kokcharov added.
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