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Belarus election was not free and fair, US Secretary of State Pompeo says

Washington: The United States is deeply concerned about the conduct of the presidential election in Belarus “which was not free and fair,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday.

Police use smoke grenades during a protest after the Belarusian presidential election in Minsk, Belarus.

Police use smoke grenades during a protest after the Belarusian presidential election in Minsk, Belarus.Credit:AP

“We strongly condemn ongoing violence against protesters and the detention of opposition supporters, as well as the use of internet shutdowns to hinder the ability of the Belarusian people to share information about the election and the demonstrations,” Pompeo added in a statement.

Thousands of people protested in Belarus for a second straight night Monday after official results from weekend elections — dismissed by the opposition as a sham — gave an overwhelming victory to authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, extending his 26-year rule until 2025.

Lukashenko responded with a tough crackdown on demonstrations, deriding the opposition as “sheep” manipulated by foreign masters.

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