Express and Explore Yourself

Belarus protesters build a barricade, calling for Lukashenko resignation



Minsk: Belarus protesters constructed a barricade in a Minsk street on Monday night as clashes continued for the second day after the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko.

The barricade was later destroyed by a police riot truck. At least one person died as Belarusian police clashed with protesters on Monday after the opposition accused Lukashenko of rigging his re-election victory amid a chorus of criticism from Western leaders. Helmeted police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades and used batons to disperse thousands of people in Minsk in a second night of violence. Protesters set up barricades in several areas and threw Molotov cocktails.
One man died while trying to throw an unidentified explosive device at police that blew up in his hands, the government said. Local media reported clashes breaking out in other towns. In power for more than a quarter of a century, Lukashenko claimed a landslide win against Svetlana Tikhanouskaya, a former English teacher who emerged from obscurity to lead the biggest challenge to his rule in years.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the vote was "not free and fair" and condemned "ongoing violence against protesters and the detention of opposition supporters." Events are being closely watched by Russia, whose oil exports run through Belarus to the West and which has long regarded the country as a buffer zone against NATO. They are also being monitored by the West, which has tried to lure Minsk from Moscow's orbit.
Germany called for the European Union to discuss sanctions on Belarus that were lifted in 2016 to foster better relations. Russian President Vladimir Putin used a congratulatory telegram to nudge Lukashenko to accept deeper ties between the two nations, which the Belarusian leader has previously rejected as an assault on his country's independence.

Foreign observers have not judged an election to be free and fair in Belarus since 1995, and the run-up to the vote saw authorities jail Lukashenko's rivals and open criminal investigations of others who voiced opposition. Tikhanouskaya's campaign rallies drew some of the biggest crowds since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991