Belarus’ longtime president was declared the winner of Sunday’s national election Monday and vowed to quash protests opposing his victory.
The country's Central Election Commission said on Monday that after all ballots were counted, Alexander Lukashenko took 80.23% of the votes and the main opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya 9.9%.
Lukashenko, in power for 26 years, said Monday that opposition protesters would face a tough crackdown, describing them as “sheep” manipulated by foreign masters.
"Follow the law and then all these conversations about repression disappear,” he said Monday.
Meanwhile, rights groups have said one person was killed and dozens injured in a police crackdown on protests that followed Sunday's polls. Several hundred protesters have been arrested. Police used stun grenades, tear gas and water cannon against the thousands of protesters who took to the streets of the country’s capital, Minsk late Sunday. Opposition supporters, who believe the results were manipulated, plan to gather in Minsk for more protests Monday evening.
Speaking from her headquarters, Tsikhanouskaya said she does not recognize the outcome.
"We have already won, because we have overcome our fear, our apathy and our indifference," Tsikhanouskaya said.
International officials have also questioned the legitimacy of the election, as well as the crackdown on protesters.
“Harassment & violent repression of peaceful protesters has no place in Europe,” Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Union Commission, wrote on Twitter.
“I call on the Belarusian authorities to ensure that the votes in yesterday’s election are counted & published accurately.”
Harassment & violent repression of peaceful protesters has no place in Europe.— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) August 10, 2020
Fundamental rights in #Belarus must be respected.
I call on the Belarusian authorities to ensure that the votes in yesterday’s election are counted & published accurately.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the organization “condemns violence against peaceful protestors.” “Fundamental rights must be respected,” he said in a statement.
NEW: @NATO "expressed serious concerns over the conduct of the presidential election in #Belarus" per SecGen @jensstoltenberg— Jeff Seldin (@jseldin) August 10, 2020
"NATO condemns violence against peaceful protestors. Fundamental rights must be respected, including freedom of speech & the right to peaceful protest"
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Lukashenko Monday on his victory.
Protests were held in other Belarusian cities including Gomel, Grodno, Vitebsk and Brest, where tear gas was reportedly fired.