Lukashenko Warns Off Opposition Protesters
Belarus' authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko warned Monday opposition protesters who challenge the official vote results extending his 26-year rule will face a tough crackdown, deriding them as "sheep" manipulated by foreign masters.
Dozens were injured and thousands detained hours after Sunday's vote, when police brutally broke up mostly young protesters with tear gas and flash-bang grenades.
Rights activists said one person died after being run over by a police truck - which authorities have denied.
The 65-year-old former state farm director asserted the opposition was being directed from Poland and the Czech Republic.
Election officials said Monday Lukashenko won a sixth term in office with over 80% of the vote, while opposition challenger Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya got 9.9%.
Tsikhanouskaya dismissed the official results as a sham and vowed to dispute them, and the opposition is planning new protests in the capital, Minsk, and other cities later in the day.
The brutal police crackdown drew harsh criticism from European capitals and will likely complicate Lukashenko's efforts to mend ties with the West amid tensions with his main ally and sponsor, Russia.