Belarus: Why are people protesting against President Alexander Lukashenko?

Team Udayavani, Aug 17, 2020, 11:28 AM IST

Violent protests over election results have involved Belarus for over a week, people are protesting against authoritarian ruler of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko.

According to Global News, The protests began on Aug, 9 after it was announced long-time Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko had been successful in his bid for re-election.

Alexander Lukashenko, who is the country’s current ruler, won with 80.1% of the votes, but many people say the results aren’t accurate and the voting system has been tampered.

The authoritarian president was first elected in 1994 and has ruled for 26 years. However, the results of every election in Belarus since he came into power have been disputed.

It is said that many opposition leaders who tried to run against him in elections have been arrested, stopped from running, or have fled the country

Also, his rule in Belarus has also been criticised as he did not take any strict lockdown measures against Covid-19, he claimed that no none die from this country. But, there were 67,366 coronavirus cases in Belarus, with 543 deaths.

According to BBC, on the other hand, Belarussian vlogger called Sergei Tikhanovsky started to become popular on YouTube. He travelled all over Belarus chatting to people about how much they love their country, but also about how frustrated they feel at alleged corruption in the government.

The authorities detained Sergei many times, before putting him in prison and stopping him from running for president.

Later, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya,  Sergei’s wife decided to run against Alexander Lukashenko in the election, on behalf of her husband and became his toughest opponent in years.

In July, she was joined by two other women who were earlier stopped from running elections and they gained great support from the people of Belarus. But Mr Lukashenko dismissed Svetlana, saying a woman could not lead Belarus.

As per the BBC report, The day after the election vote showed that Alexander Lukashenko had won again, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya disappeared.

A few days later the foreign minister of Lithuania tweeted that she was safe, in his country, and was reunited with her children.

But, two videos of her, taken before she fled to Lithuania have been shared across the internet. In the videos she looks distressed and talks about being “a weak woman” and urges people to not go out and protest against the results.

People speculate that she was threatened and forced to leave the country. This sparked protests all over Belarus, with reports of police acting violently towards the protestors, beating and imprisoning them.

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