Unrest in Belarus after Lukashenko declared winner in Sunday’s presidential elections

Demonstrators and riot police clashed in Belarus’s capital Minsk, after  poll results declared long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko’s victory in Sunday’s elections.

Many chanted “Get out” and other anti-government slogans. Police used stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannon against demonstrators.

Police in Belarus detained some 3,000 people for taking part in the unauthorized gatherings. Belarusian human rights group Viasna claimed one protester died. However, the interior ministry denied any deaths.

The Viasna Human Rights Center said the young male protester suffered a traumatic head injury when he was hit by a police vehicle and medics were unable to save him.

Similar protests took place in Brest, Gomel, Grodno and other cities.

Long-serving Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko won a sixth term with 80.23% of the vote, the central electoral commission said on Monday, a result the opposition says was rigged.

His main challenger, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, won 9.9%, central electoral commission chief Lidia Yermoshina said.

“We have already won, because we have overcome our fear, our apathy and our indifference,” Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said.

Tikhanovskaya rejected the results and demanded authorities transfer power to the opposition.

“Yesterday the voters made their choice but the authorities did not hear us, they have broken with the people,” she told a news conference Monday.

Ms Tikhanovskaya, 37, a former teacher entered the election in place of her jailed husband and went on to lead large opposition rallies.

Mr Lukashenko, 65, has been in power since 1994.

The lead-up to Sunday’s poll saw a crackdown on activists and journalists amid the country’s biggest opposition demonstrations in years.

Anger towards Mr Lukashenko’s government has been in part fuelled by the response to coronavirus.

The president has downplayed the outbreak, advising citizens to drink vodka and use saunas to fight the disease.

Belarus, which has a population of 9.5 million, has reported nearly 70,000 cases and 600 deaths.