Protests erupt in Minsk after election

Belarusian police and protesters clash after exit poll finds that President Alexander Lukashenko won the election.

Tags: Minsk Belarus
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Opposition supporters clash with law enforcement officers in Minsk
Opposition supporters clash with law enforcement officers in Minsk

Belarusian police and protesters clashed on Sunday in the capital Minsk and other cities, with law enforcement officers using stun grenades after a presidential vote that the opposition says was rigged, witnesses and media reports said, according to AFP.

Witnesses described chaotic scenes across the capital, with protesters shouting, cars honking and sirens wailing.

A live video feed provided by US-funded Radio Liberty showed hundreds of riot police facing off with protesters in central Minsk and firing stun grenades to disperse the crowd.

Witnesses said several thousand protesters and around 1,000 police gathered near a central monument in Minsk, with clashes erupting and some protesters trying to set up barricades.

Opposition-linked media outlets reported clashes with police and that a police van had rammed into a crowd of protesters. A water cannon was also reportedly used.

There were reports of injuries and dozens of people arrested, though the interior ministry denied any wounded.

The protests followed a state exit poll which found that longtime Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko won Sunday's presidential election with 79.7 percent of the vote, securing a sixth term in office.

Lukashenko's main opposition challenger Svetlana Tikhanovskaya came second with 6.8 percent, according to the poll. She swiftly said she did not trust the official figures, insisting that "the majority is with us."