Belarus Unrest: Thousands attend dead protester’s funeral

Thousands of people have attended the funeral of a man who died during recent protests against the disputed presidential election in Belarus.

Opposition supporters turned out in the capital, Minsk, on Saturday where they laid flowers, waved banners and chanted for the long-time president to resign.

Mass protests erupted after President Alexander Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory in the 9 August vote.

The result has been condemned with widespread allegations of vote-rigging.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya calls for peaceful protests:

Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has called for peaceful rallies across the country, after she was forced to leave for Lithuania in the wake of a disputed election.

“Don’t stay on the sidelines,” she said, proposing a broad council to work on the transfer of power.

A “March for Freedom” is also planned in the centre of the city on Sunday, a week after the contested election.

Alexander Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994 but Sunday’s presidential vote was condemned by the EU and US.

Protesters across the country call for Lukashenko to quit. At least 6,7000 protesters were arrested since the election results last Sunday.

President Lukashenko’s government had already been accused of responding to the protests with disproportionate force and violence, but the accusations of mistreating people behind bars has prompted renewed public outrage toward the government.

After being threatened by sanctions from the European Union, Belarus began freeing prisoners. Close to 2,000 people were released as on Friday.

Freed protesters claimed that they were tortured, beaten and abused by security forces.

The Belarusian Central Elections Committee (CEC) declared that incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won 80.1% of the votes and opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya 10.1%.

Opposition groups claim the election was marred by fraud to keep Lukashenko in power.

READ: Belarus opposition leader claims election victory, seeks support from European nations