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Calls for calm in Belarus ahead of final election results


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Calls for calm in Belarus ahead of final election results

Belarus’s liberal opposition has urged thousands of supporters to disperse peacefully from a square in the capital and come back tomorrow. At least 10 thousand people demonstrated in October Square in Minsk against alleged electoral fraud, after partial official results suggested President Alexander Lukashenko had been re-elected with a massive majority. The main opposition candidate Alexander Milinkevich predicted the vote would berigged.

Now he’s called for it to be declared invalid. “I think everyone’s in a great mood, this is not simply a rally, it’s a celebration of the rebirth of the Belarussian people. They wanted to bring the population to its knees and imtimidate it, but the people did not give in. They have real values.” At one of the largest rallies in recent years, some waved the white and red national colours banned by Lukashenko, and others had European Union flags. There were also Ukrainian flags, in recognition of the so-called Orange Revolution there in 2004. Milinkevich’s team says that according to non-official surveys of voters on Sunday, the challenger took at least 30 per cent of the votes cast, while Lukashenko scored less than the 50 per cent needed to avoid a runoff in the next two weeks. President Lukashenko had vowed to “wring the necks” of anyone violating public order.
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