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Police begin to use force to disperse protesters in central Minsk

Several people were hurt

MINSK, August 9. /TASS/. Belarusian police have begun to use force to push protesters off the Victory Square in central Minsk, a TASS correspondent reported from the site.

The protesters who gathered here when the exit poll results after Sunday’s presidential elections had been released tried to break through riot police cordons, policemen used flash bangs. Several people were hurt. One of the protesters was taken to hospital with a serious head injury.

Some of the protesters have moved to other adjacent locations, also cordoned off by the police.

According to earlier reports, traffic along the central Independence Avenue and adjacent streets was stopped after a motor rally of protest.

On Sunday, Belarus held its sixth presidential election since declaring independence in 1991. The incumbent head of state, Alexander Lukashenko, 65, is seeking his sixth term. According to the country’s Central Election Commission, the voter turnout was 79.01% as of 18:00 local time. Voting took place at 5,767 polling station, including 44 abroad. As many as 6.8 million Belarusian nationals are eligible to vote.

According to an exit poll conducted by the CROO BKMO Youth Laboratory of Sociological Studies at the request of the Mir television channel, Lukashenko is winning 79.7% of votes. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is winning 6.8% of votes. Anna Kanopatskaya is scoring 2.3% of votes, Andrei Dmitriyev - 1.1%, and Sergei Cherchen - 0.9% As many as 9.2% of voters were against all.

The elections were declared valid after the voter turnout exceeded 50%