US joins chorus with European nations, raises concerns over Belarus elections

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Aug 11, 2020, 12.13 AM(IST)

The White House. Photograph:( AFP )

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'We urge the Belarussian government to respect the right to peaceably assemble and refrain from use of force,' the WH said 

After questions were raised by some European nations, the United States has also expressed its concerns on Monday over the presidential election in Belarus.

US President Donald Trump's press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said: "intimidation of opposition candidates and the detention of peaceful protesters" were among several factors that "marred the process", in a reference to the elections. 

Also read | Belarus election challenger demands Lukashenko 'hand over power'

"We urge the Belarussian government to respect the right to peaceably assemble and refrain from use of force." 

In Pics | Water cannons, tear gas, stun grenades: Protesters clash with Belarus police after election results

The comments from the US came after thousands on Sunday protested in Minsk and other Belarusian cities, refusing to accept the election result which gave victory to incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko with over 80 per cent votes.

The protesters clashed with cops too, which led to detention of some 3,000 people and cops using violence to disperse the demonstrations.

There were calls for protests on Monday too in Minsk and hundreds participated too, but several areas which were part of demonstrations yesterday in the capital city were sealed off. 

The police used stun grenades, water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrators across the country. 

However, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who was the biggest threat to Lukashenko, said she would not be joining protests, despite calling elections rigged and declaring herself as the winner. 

"The authorities should think about how to peacefully hand over power to us," said Tikhanovskaya in a press conference held on Monday. 

European countries doubted the election results, with Britain saying the polls were "seriously flawed" and asked officials to "refrain from further acts of violence".

Germany also said that the elections raised "strong doubts", while France urged for restraint. 

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping congratulated Lukashenko, who is in power for decades.