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Election fallout: Belarus opposition leader flees the country

11:12 PM Aug 11, 2020 | Associated Press

The top opposition candidate in Belarus' presidential vote who refused to concede her defeat has fled the country amid a massive police crackdown on protests, Lithuania's foreign minister said Tuesday.

Linas Linkevicius' said on Twitter that Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is now "safe" in Lithuania.

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Tsikhanouskaya previously dismissed the official results of Sunday's election showing authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko winning a sixth term by a landslide.

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On Monday, a protester died amid the clashes in Minsk and scores were injured as police used tear gas, flash-bang grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrators.

Interior Ministry spokesman Alexander Lastovsky said the victim intended to throw an explosive device, but it blew up in his hand and killed him.

Lukashenko, who has led the ex-Soviet nation of 9.5 million with an iron fist since 1994, derided the opposition as "sheep" manipulated by foreign masters and vowed to continue the tough crackdown on protests despite Western rebukes.

Election officials said Lukashenko won a sixth term in office with 80 per cent of the vote, while Tsikhanouskaya got 10 per cent.

After submitting her formal demand for a recount to Belarus' Central Election Commission, she said: "I have made a decision, I must be with my children." She had previously sent her children to an unspecified European country after receiving threats.

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