“The election night was marred with disproportionate and unacceptable state violence against peaceful protesters. This reportedly resulted in the loss of life of one citizen and many others have been injured. We condemn the violence and call for the immediate release of all detained during last night. The Belarusian authorities must ensure that the fundamental right of peaceful assembly is respected,” EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.
Police in Belarus detained around 3,000 people at protests that erupted on Sunday following the presidential election, Russia’s RIA news agency cited the Belarusian Interior Ministry as saying on Monday. President Alexander Lukashenko won a landslide re-election victory, the central election commission said earlier, after bloody clashes between riot police and thousands of protesters who said the poll was rigged. Human Rights groups say more than 1,300 people were also detained in the pre-election crackdown, including independent election observers, Reuters reported.
Among opposition figures arrested, the leader of the largest pro-liberty student organization in the world – Students For Liberty – and civil rights activist Piotr Markiulau, has been condemned to spend 12 days in prison for supporting a family of political prisoners on hunger strike.
Foreign observers have not judged an election to be free and fair in Belarus since 1995, and the run-up to the vote saw authorities jail Lukashenko’s rivals and open criminal investigations into others who voiced opposition. The opposition now tell Lukashenko to step down after ‘illegitimate’ election win.
But Lukashenko signalled he would not step down. “The response will be appropriate. We won’t allow the country to be torn apart,” the 65-year-old leader was quoted by the Belta news agency as saying. “They are trying to orchestrate mayhem,” said Lukashenko. “But I have already warned: there will be no revolution.”
To be noted that Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated Lukashenko on his win.