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Protesters clash with riot police as ‘Europe’s last dictator’ secures another landslide in Belarus

Crowds of protesters demanding an end to the rule of ‘Europe’s last dictator’ clashed with police on the streets of Belarus last night.

The clashes came after state-approved exits polls claimed Alexander Lukashenko had won a landslide victory to retain the presidency he has held since 1994.

Outraged opposition supporters came out in their thousands to demonstrate in disbelief that the repressive strongman had secured 79.7 per cent of the vote, as according to the official figures. 

A law enforcement officer drags a man during clashes with opposition supporters after poll closed at presidential election in Minsk, Belarus August 9, 2020

A law enforcement officer drags a man during clashes with opposition supporters after poll closed at presidential election in Minsk, Belarus August 9, 2020

A law enforcement officer drags a man during clashes with opposition supporters after poll closed at presidential election in Minsk, Belarus August 9, 2020

Opposition supporters scuffle with law enforcement officers after poll closed at presidential election in Minsk, Belarus August 9, 2020

Opposition supporters scuffle with law enforcement officers after poll closed at presidential election in Minsk, Belarus August 9, 2020

Opposition supporters scuffle with law enforcement officers after poll closed at presidential election in Minsk, Belarus August 9, 2020

A couple rides on a scooter in front of law enforcement officers blocking a street after poll closed at presidential election in Minsk, Belarus August 9, 2020

A couple rides on a scooter in front of law enforcement officers blocking a street after poll closed at presidential election in Minsk, Belarus August 9, 2020

A couple rides on a scooter in front of law enforcement officers blocking a street after poll closed at presidential election in Minsk, Belarus August 9, 2020

A man laying on the ground receives assistance during clashes with opposition supporters after polls closed at the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, August 9

A man laying on the ground receives assistance during clashes with opposition supporters after polls closed at the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, August 9

A man laying on the ground receives assistance during clashes with opposition supporters after polls closed at the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, August 9

Police detain a man during clashes with opposition supporters after polls closed at the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, August 9, 2020

Police detain a man during clashes with opposition supporters after polls closed at the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, August 9, 2020

Police detain a man during clashes with opposition supporters after polls closed at the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, August 9, 2020

Police fired stun grenades at the crowds of people who had taken to the streets of capital city Minsk. 

Protesters clapped, honked their car horns and shouted ‘victory’ in solidarity with the opposition.

Lukashenko, who was a collective farm manager under the Soviets, has repeatedly come under fire for his record on human rights through his five terms of office.

More recently he has been targeted for his cavalier attitude to the Covid-19 pandemic which he dismissed as a case of mass ‘psychosis’. 

Protesters run through smoke during a protest after the Belarusian presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. Police and protesters clashed in Belarus' capital and the major city of Brest on Sunday after the presidential election in which the authoritarian leader who has ruled for a quarter-century sought a sixth term in office.

Protesters run through smoke during a protest after the Belarusian presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. Police and protesters clashed in Belarus' capital and the major city of Brest on Sunday after the presidential election in which the authoritarian leader who has ruled for a quarter-century sought a sixth term in office.

Protesters run through smoke during a protest after the Belarusian presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. Police and protesters clashed in Belarus’ capital and the major city of Brest on Sunday after the presidential election in which the authoritarian leader who has ruled for a quarter-century sought a sixth term in office.

Protesters help paramedics to carry a wounded person into an ambulance after clashes with police in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020

Protesters help paramedics to carry a wounded person into an ambulance after clashes with police in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020

Protesters help paramedics to carry a wounded person into an ambulance after clashes with police in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020

People run during clashes with opposition supporters after polls closed at the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, August 9, 2020

People run during clashes with opposition supporters after polls closed at the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, August 9, 2020

People run during clashes with opposition supporters after polls closed at the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, August 9, 2020

The 65-year-old leader has suggested that the virus could be staved off by drinking vodka and spending time in saunas.

Critics had hoped he would be succeeded by former English teacher Svetlana Tikhanovskaya who seemed to hvae posed the biggest threat to his leadership in years.

The mother-of-two only entered the race after her husband, Sergei Tikhanovsky, an anti-government blogger who had intended to run himself, was jailed.

But exit polls indicated Ms Tikhanouskaya had received just 6.8 per cent of the vote. 

Riot police block an area after polls closed in Belarus' presidential election, in Minsk on August 9, 2020

Riot police block an area after polls closed in Belarus' presidential election, in Minsk on August 9, 2020

Riot police block an area after polls closed in Belarus’ presidential election, in Minsk on August 9, 2020

Law enforcement officers run during clashes with opposition supporters after poll closed at presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, August 9, 2020

Law enforcement officers run during clashes with opposition supporters after poll closed at presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, August 9, 2020

Law enforcement officers run during clashes with opposition supporters after poll closed at presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, August 9, 2020

Law enforcement officers escort a man during clashes with opposition supporters after poll closed at presidential election in Minsk, Belarus August 9, 2020

Law enforcement officers escort a man during clashes with opposition supporters after poll closed at presidential election in Minsk, Belarus August 9, 2020

Law enforcement officers escort a man during clashes with opposition supporters after poll closed at presidential election in Minsk, Belarus August 9, 2020

She cast doubt over the fairness of the election after more than 1,300 activists and journalists were detained in the lead-up to Sunday. 

Referring to the crowds of people chanting her name, she said last night: ‘I believe my eyes, and I see that the majority is with us.’

Military vehicles, soldiers and police patrolled Minsk yesterday while the internet went down in an apparent attempt to disrupt opposition social media communications.

A government official claimed that no protesters had been injured.

Source: Daily Mail

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