Thousands protest over Belarus 'vote-rigging'
Monday 20 December 2010
Tens of thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Minsk last night, attempting to storm the main government building in protest against elections that looked set to give authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko a fourth term in office. Around 40,000 people attempted to enter the building late in the evening, breaking glass doors and windows, but were chased back by riot police.
Earlier, the streets filled with police who used sound grenades to disperse protesters, and one rival candidate was hospitalised after being beaten. Exit polls suggested that Mr Lukashenko, the former collective farm boss who has run Belarus since 1994, was on course to win about 79 per cent of the vote.
The opposition accuses him of years of rights violations and authoritarian policies, describing the country's political system as a throwback to the Soviet Union. But the diverse opposition parties were unable to agree on a single candidate to stand against Mr Lukashenko, who needed 50 per cent of the vote to avoid a second round. Although the nine opposition candidates were given more access to the media than in previous elections, they have still complained of harassment and intimidation.
Around 30 opposition activists were arrested over the weekend, and the opposition also claims that there was wide-scale vote-rigging at the election.
Mr Lukashenko said earlier in the day that no protests would be permitted, and ruled out talking to the opposition, calling them "bandits and saboteurs". The Belarusian President was talking as he visited a polling station where his ballot was cast by his six-year-old son.
Royal Marine Sgt Alexander Blackman jailed for life for murder of Afghan insurgent
Ja Rule forced to deny leaving wife for prison cell mate
Nelson Mandela: 11 inspirational quotes to live your life by
Nelson Mandela's death: South Africa and the world mourns loss of Nelson Mandela
Crash pilot who threatened Ukip leader Nigel Farage found dead
- 1 Cameron's freebie to apartheid South Africa
- 2 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 3 Sherlock series 3: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman provide teasers for the biggest comeback in British television
- 4 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 5 People will try to reduce Mandela to a lilting reggae tune about ‘love’. They will fail
- < Previous
- Next >
£50000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: Senior Automation QA ...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: A global Con...
£31000 - £43000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: This se...
£27000 - £45000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Lambeth...