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UPDATE - Belarus: Protests over presidential election continue

UPDATE - Belarus: Protests over presidential election continue
People with flowers line up in 'chain of solidarity' to support people in custody

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) - Protests against the results of Belarus’ presidential election continued for a fourth day Thursday, the Interior Ministry said.

The unrest is dying down, with fewer people taking to the streets. However, aggression against law enforcement personnel remains high, ministry spokeswoman Olga Chemodanova posted on her official Telegram channel.

In total, 103 law enforcement officers have been injured in clashes with protesters since Aug. 9. Over 28 officers were hospitalized, she said.

Protesters tried to block main transport arteries in the capital Minsk, causing public transport disruptions. Police used arms to stop aggressive attacks in several hotspots. However, no one was killed. More than 700 people have been detained since Wednesday, raising the number of arrests to 5,700.

Early Thursday morning, people with flowers lined up in “a chain of solidarity” to support the people in custody.

The workers of the biggest Belarusian automakers BelAZ and MAZ declared a strike and left their workplaces chanting "Go!" and "Long Live Belarus!".

The strike was supported by workers of other industrial giants including fertilizers producer GrodnoAzot and building materials manufacturer Keramin.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said at a news conference in Moscow that Russia sees foreign interference in Belarusian affairs as a move to create societal discord.

"We call on everyone to exercise restraint and be reasonable. We affirm our interest in a stable internal political situation in Belarus. We hope that the situation in the country will soon normalize and return to calm," she said.

She expressed concern at the arrest of 33 Russians in Belarus days before the election, adding that she hoped the matter is resolved soon.

Alexander Lukashenko officially won Sunday’s election with 80% of the vote. His main rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya scored only 10.09%. The opposition have challenged the election results and launched demonstrations.

source: News Feed
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