Beat Down In Belarus


It was a good day for Europe’s last dictator, not so much for democracy.

Belarus election ends in protests, police crackdown

Following a night of violence and mass arrests in Minsk, Belarus, the state-dominated media on Monday declared that Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarussian leader who’s often described as “Europe’s last dictator,” has been reelected to an unprecedented fourth term with a 79.7 percent majority of the votes. None of his eight opponents won more than 3 percent.

After state-conducted exit polls indicated the scope of Mr. Lukashenko’s triumph Sunday night, an estimated 20,000 opposition supporters attempted to rally on Minsk’s central Independence Square to protest what they allege to be systematic fraud in the electoral process – as they did under almost identical circumstances in previous presidential polls four years ago.

But this time, authorities reacted with a harshness unseen in the past. An attempt by some opposition supporters to storm the Central Electoral Commission headquarters failed to get past massed ranks of police. Special riot squads then charged into the crowd, using batons and stun grenades, arresting 600 and injuring dozens.

During the night, Belarus’s KGB security forces swept through Minsk, arresting six opposition candidates along with scores of their supporters in an operation that continued in full swing Monday. Two of the candidates, Nikolai Statkevich and Vladimir Neklyaev, claimed they were beaten by special police before being taken to prison. The arrested leaders could face jail terms of up to 15 years.

See also:
Alexander Lukashenko wins Belarus’ presidential election with 79.67% of the vote
U.S. Condemns Belarus Crackdowns, Rejects Election Results
Belarus President Lukashenko Clamps Down on Protests After Election Win
The Moscow Power Games Behind Belarus’ Election Crackdown
Belarus Leader Shrugs Off Accusations of Election Fraud, Violence
U.S. condemns Belarus violence, says poll in doubt
Belarus protests: Your views
Lukashenko, bogeyman for both West and Russia
Lukashenka uncovered
Belarus is a kleptocratic arms bazaar that the EU needs to tackle
Civil unrest in Minsk on 19 December ‘nothing to do with elections’

I’m not sure why countries like Belarus even bother to hold elections at all. It’s not like they’re fooling anyone into thinking the election is legitimate.

/our American democracy may not be perfect, but at least our losing electoral candidates don’t get thrown in prison

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: