Amidst intimidation and disproportionate police force against protesters in Belarus following reports of serious administrative misconduct during yesterday’s presidential election, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) calls for dialogue and urges the authorities to refrain from violence and to honestly report detailed election results from all polling stations.
A protester reportedly died last night during a violent clash between demonstrators and riot police in Prytycki Avenue in Minsk, according to the authorities. The Interior Ministry said the man was killed after he tried to cast a self-made bomb. However, the information is not confirmed by any evidence.
The restrictions imposed by the CEC on the number of observers at polling stations during early voting made this electoral phase completely non-transparent for independent citizen observation. These restrictions were aimed at disrupting independent observation of this stage, rather than pursuing the declared medical safety measures in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.
Local human rights groups warn that the mobilisation of the military ahead of the August 9th elections could lead to further escalation of violence. FIDH and Viasna Human Rights Centre call on the Belarusian authorities to refrain from using violence against peaceful protesters and to ensure transparency throughout the electoral process.