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Women In Minsk, Elsewhere In Belarus Protest Postelection Crackdown

Belarusian Women Form 'Solidarity Chains' To Condemn Violence Against Protesters
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Women in Minsk and elsewhere across Belarus on August 12 wore white and carried flowers as they formed human chains to protest against the massive security crackdown since the country’s presidential election.

Alyaksandr Lukashenka, in power since 1994, won a sixth term in the country’s presidential election on August 9 amid opposition allegations the vote was rigged. Lukashenka’s main competitor, Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, has left Belarus and is now in neighboring Lithuania.

No vote under Lukashenka has been deemed free or fair by the West.

Thousands poured into the streets soon after polls closed on August 9 and a state-sponsored exit poll showed Lukashenka winning in a landslide over Tsikhanouskaya whose campaign gained momentum as the vote neared. She attracted huge crowds at rallies across the country.

The West, including Washington, has condemned the election and the crackdown that has followed. The European Union has said it is considering placing fresh sanctions on Belarus.

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In the Belarusian capital, some 250 joined hands outside a market.

“Stop beating us. We just want a fair count of the votes. We came here unarmed just like the other peaceful protesters. Violence is only being carried out by one side,” the participants said.

When police arrived to disperse the gathering, the women lay their flowers down and walked off with their hands over their heads.

The independent Belarusian news site said similar protests were held elsewhere on August 12 in Belarus.

Fifteen women were briefly detained at the demonstration in Vitebsk, while four women were detained at a similar protest in Mahilyou.

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