Belarus headed to the polls on Sunday to cast their vote in the country’s presidential elections, with President Alexander Lukashenko pitted against unlikely candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a stay-at-home mother and former teacher. Voters in face masks were seen arriving at a Minsk polling station, with some wearing white bracelets after Tikhanovskaya asked her supporters to wear them, French news agency AFP reported. Voting amid crackdown Tikhanovskaya was tapped to run for the opposition after authorities began a crackdown on opposition figures, including her husband. Lukashenko’s main rival, Viktor Babariko, was jailed over fraud and embezzlement charges and subsequently banned from standing in the election. Prominent opposition figure Valery Tsepkalo was also barred from running and fled to Russia over fears of being arrested and stripped of parental rights. A 30-year-old make-up artist from Minsk said she had wanted to vote for Babaryko, and accused Lukashenko of clinging to power. “No one I know will vote for Lukashenko,” she told AFP. Belarusian authorities have detained more than 1,000 protesters since election campaigning began in May, according to the human rights group Viasna. Journalists in Belarus have also been detained in the lead-up to the election, including DW correspondent Alexander Burakov. Read more: Svetlana Tikhanovskaya: The teacher challenging Lukashenko… Read full this story
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