Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, main opposition candidate in 2020 Belarus presidential election (File photo)
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, main opposition candidate in 2020 Belarus presidential election (File photo)

Belarus opposition candidate flees to Lithuania after rejecting preliminary poll results

ANI | Updated: Aug 11, 2020 18:05 IST

Minsk [Belarus], August 11 (ANI): Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the main opposition candidate in the disputed Belarus presidential election has fled to Lithuania and is "safe" after security personnel launched a crackdown on protests in Belarus over the result.
Tikhanovskaya, who stood in for her husband in the election, after he was jailed ahead of the vote, left Belarus after she rejected the preliminary poll results that handed longtime President Alexander Lukashenko a sweeping victory, CNN reported.
"Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is safe. She is in Lithuania," Linas Linkevicius, the Lithuanian Foreign Minister said in a tweet.
Protests occurred following the release of official exit polls on late Sunday, which handed a sixth consecutive term to Lukashenko, who has been the President of Belarus since 1994 and has earned the nickname "Europe's last dictator". Thousands were arrested and the agitations resumed on Monday night.
On Monday, Tikhanovskaya "left to an unknown location" after lodging a complaint with Belarus' central elections committee demanding a vote recount.

A protestor died during clashes in Minsk late on Monday, according to the country's interior ministry.
"On August 10 at about 23:00, during the riots in Minsk on Pritytsky street, the crowd built barricades to block the traffic. During the confrontation with the special forces, who arrived to unblock the square, one of the protesters tried to throw an unidentified explosive device at the law enforcement officers. It exploded in his hand," the ministry said in a statement adding that the protestor died of injuries.
About 3,000 people have been detained and dozens injured in the Sunday's clashes.
Tikhanovskaya, a former English teacher, became the face of the opposition after she took over from her husband, Sergey Tikhanovskiy, a former candidate and popular YouTube blogger who has been jailed since May, according to CNN.
The opposition candidate's campaign and independent observers have said the electoral process was marred with widespread ballot stuffing and other irregularities.
Tikhanovskaya joined forces with two other women who conducted other opposition campaigns after their candidates were barred from contesting or jailed. Lukashenko has said he will not "allow the country to be torn apart" and claimed that the demonstrations were initiated by "foreign puppeteers", Belta reported.
The long-time President has termed Tikhanovskaya and the two women as "poor girls" during his annual state of the union address on Tuesday. (ANI)