NEW YORK, August 11. /TASS/. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on the Belarusian authorities to ensure security of media representatives covering protests in the country, the US NGO based in New York said in a statement.
"Belarusian authorities must stop attacking members of the press covering protests, and should ensure that police officers who attack journalists are held to account," Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, was quoted as saying. "Journalists must be able to report on this pivotal moment in the country’s history freely and safely," she noted.
According to CPJ’s data, on Monday at least three journalists, who were covering the protests, were detained in Minsk and Grodno. On Sunday, at least four reporters were attacked in Minsk and five were taken into custody. Among those detained were journalists of Russia’s Komsomolskaya Pravda, Dozhd TV channel, Daily Storm, Meduza and other media outlets.
On August 9, Belarus held its sixth presidential election since declaring independence in 1991. According to the country’s Central Election Commission, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won 80.08% of votes. His closest rival, housewife Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, scored 10.09% of votes. The other three candidates managed to win less that to percent each.
After the exit poll results were announced on Sunday night, mass protests flared up in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities, which spiraled into clashes with police. According to the Interior Ministry, some 3,000 people were detained and dozens of police and protesters were injured.