Belarus opposition candidate calls on end to protests, flees to Lithuania

By Ignacio Ortega

Moscow, Aug 11 (efe-epa).- Belarus’s main opposition candidate announced on Tuesday she has fled the country after challenging the results of the country’s presidential elections.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has gone into exile in neighboring Lithuania and called on her supporters to end violent protests that have gripped the country since the vote on Sunday.

She and her formation have rejected the victory declared by Alexander Lukashenko and called on the long-time leader to surrender power within two weeks.

Tikhanovskaya said in a YouTube video that she decided to leave her country for the sake of her young children.

“Not one life is worth what is happening now,” she added.

“Children are the most important things in our lives.”Her decision was a setback and a surprise to her supporters as only hours earlier she said she had no reason to leave Belarus.

This changed after she went to the headquarters of the Central Election Commission in Minsk on Monday to contest the results, during which time her team said she was uncontactable for several hours.

Her campaign partner Maria Kolesnikova said in an apparent allusion to the Belarusian KGB: “Tikhanovskaya spent three hours in the office of (CEC head Lidia) Yermoshina with two senior members of the security forces.”

Shortly after communicating her whereabouts, Tikhanovskaya broadcast another video in which she appeared unsettled and read from a document.

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