Security forces in Belarus' capital have lifted road closures in central Minsk following hours of clashes with opposition protesters amid a controversial presidential election on Sunday, August 9. Protesters in the Kuntsevchina district barricaded Pritysky Avenue on the night of Monday, August 10, as well as allegedly throwing explosive devices at security forces. One protester died, with officials reporting that an explosive device had gone off in his hand as he attempted to throw it.
Protests following the election have taken place throughout Belarus, with security forces blocking access to a number of cities as clashes with protesters were reported. Security forces have deployed tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons, batons, and concussion grenades in attempts to disperse crowds. Official figures show that some 3000 have been arrested since the election, with dozens injured.
Further opposition protests are to be expected in the near term. Protests are likely to be met with a strong response by security forces, with associated disruptions to transportation and business probable.
Election officials announced on Monday, August 10, that Lukashenko had won 80 percent of the vote in Sunday's poll, with the main opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanouskaya gaining 9.9 percent. Lukashenko faced few challenges to his sixth term as president, with his main rivals Valery Tsepkalo and Viktor Babariko being barred from standing. However, the run-up to the election saw increased political tensions and opposition protest activity.
Those in Belarus are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all large public gatherings as a precaution, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments, and refrain from discussing politically sensitive topics in public or on social media.
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