ERR in Minsk: Journalists have been disappearing

Protesters called for free elections outside the Belarusian Embassy in Tallinn on June 29.
Protesters called for free elections outside the Belarusian Embassy in Tallinn on June 29. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Belarusian authorities are suppressing freedom of speech following Sunday's presidential election, and many journalists have disappeared in that country's capital, Minsk, ERR correspondent Anton Aleksejev reports from the city.

After Belarusian authorities restricted internet access on Monday, Aleksejev told ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera", via a phone call on Tuesday that some Russian journalists who had been detained on Sunday had since been released from detention.

Aleksejev said: "Many journalists here disappear, becausethe authorities are restricting freedom of speech."

Central Minsk was calm on Tuesday evening, but Aleksejev added demonstrations were bound to continue.

Aleksejev said on Tuesday evening: "There is peace in mid-town Minsk currently. But it is the kind of peace that is scarier than war. There are special units of the Militsiya everywhere, police buses, the police are even checking for identification from cyclists, thinking they might be of danger to Lukashenko's regime."

He concluded: "One can guess that protests will continue tonight. Most Belarusians are in support of it but they are not taking part in the conflicts with the Militsiya, but rather blow their car horn and yell out 'Long live Belarus!'"

ERR News wrote on Monday that following Sunday's elections, the Belarusian Central Election Commission had announced the results of the election showed Alexander Lukashenko received 80.23 percent of the total votes, with opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya winning only 9.9 percent.

The results and claims that the elections had been rigged sparked protests across Belarus on Sunday night, which saw clashes between police and protesters.

According to the BBC, internet monitoring group NetBlocks earlier said connectivity had been "significantly disrupted" across Belarus, with the situation worsening throughout the day and creating an "information vacuum".

Exit poll: Belarusians in Estonia pick opposition leader over Lukashenko

Exit poll abroad - Estonia, a project conducted by Belarusians in Estonia, questioned Belarusian voters about their choice after they had cast their ballots on Sunday. Voting took place at the Belarusian embassy in Tallinn.

The project's official results were published early Monday morning showing 345 voters in favor of the opposition candidate and 271 votes cast for Lukashenko. In total, 648 ballots were cast at the Tallinn embassy, according to data collected by the organization. This means 53.2 percent of the votes were cast in favor of Tikhanovskaya and 41.8 percent for Lukashenko.

Preliminary polls published on Sunday evening on the group's Facebook page (shown below) showed large-scale support for Tikhanovskaya, with close to two-thirds of respondents saying they voted for the opposition candidate.

Final results for all 25 cities polled by the organization can be seen here.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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