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Belarusian Officials Announce Landslide Victory for Lukashenko


Authorities in Belarus have issued official figures declaring President Alexander Lukashenko the winner of Sunday's presidential elections with 83 percent of the vote, as protests of the poll continue.

The Central Election Commission Thursday said opposition candidate Alexander Milinkevich was the closest runner-up, with six percent.

Demonstrators in Minsk have spent the past five days in October Square, protesting what they consider to be fraud in the election. They are demanding an annulment of the results and a new vote.

In Washington, a White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, said the United States applauds the peaceful demonstrations and supports calls for a new election.

The U.S. has joined Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in criticizing the detention of opposition activists.

Local human rights officials say more than 100 people have been arrested this week.

Those detained include independent newspaper editor Andrei Dynko, who was given a 10-day term Wednesday on charges of petty hooliganism.

European monitors and the United States have condemned Sunday's election as a fraud, but Russian monitors say voting was free and transparent.

Authorities in Minsk have rejected the international monitors' objections.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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