Belarus: Mass protests after Lukashenko secretly sworn in

 Belarus: Mass protests after Lukashenko secretly sworn in

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Mass street protests are continuing in Belarus’s capital Minsk, following the inauguration of President Alexander Lukashenko at an unannounced ceremony.
There were reports of beatings and detentions by police.
Several hundred people earlier attended Mr Lukashenko’s swearing-in ceremony for a sixth term. One opposition member described it as a “thieves’ meeting”.
The opposition says last month’s poll was rigged in Mr Lukashenko’s favour.
The country’s electoral commission said Mr Lukashenko won more than 80% of the vote, triggering weeks of mass protests across the country.
Several EU countries and the US say they do not recognise Mr Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus.
Presidential inaugurations are normally publicised well in advance as major state occasions.
Instead, state news agency Belta reported on Wednesday: “Alexander Lukashenko has taken office as President of Belarus. The inauguration ceremony is taking place in these minutes in the Palace of Independence.”
Mr Lukashenko, who has ruled the former Soviet republic for 26 years, said Belarus needed security and consensus “on the brink of a global crisis”, an apparent reference to the coronavirus pandemic, Belta reported.
“I cannot, I have no right to abandon the Belarusians,” he added.

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