More than 2,000 arrested in Belarus on 2nd day of protests
Moscow, Aug 11 (efe-epa).- More than 2,000 people have been arrested in Belarus during the second day of protests against the results of the Aug. 9 presidential election that showed a landslide victory for the current president, Alexandr Lukashenko, according to official sources.
More than 2,000 people were detained across the country for participating in unauthorized mass gatherings, among other reasons, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The largest gatherings, it said, took place in the cities of Minsk, Brest, Mogiliov and Novopolotsk.
It added that at least 21 police officers were injured in clashes with protesters, with five hospitalized.
The elections, denounced as rigged by the opposition, have sparked a wave of anti-government protests, which killed one protester on Monday.
The Interior Ministry reported more than 3,000 arrests on Monday, the first day of protests that followed the disputed poll.
Among those arrested were several journalists, both Russian and Belarusian, the Association of Journalists of Belarus told EFE.
Belarus’ main opposition candidate Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya, who challenged the election results on Monday, went into exile in neighboring Lithuania on Tuesday.
Tsikhanouskaya’s campaign team said that she had been forced to leave the country by the authorities and that she “had no other choice.”
She addressed her supporters in two videos posted on the internet.
In the first recorded message, posted on YouTube, the opposition candidate said that her decision to leave Belarus was “very difficult” and asked Belarusians to take care of themselves.
In the second message, broadcast by pro-government Belarusian media, Tsikhanouskaya, sitting in an armchair with what looked to be a sheet of paper in her hands, called on her supporters to end the violent protests and respect the law. EFE-EPA