Alexander Lukashenko, the long-time Belarusian leader, whose recent reelection has been widely contested across the country, on Monday spoke at the MKZT plant in front of the workers.
Having eventually come out to confront the rally after the crowd at the site complained that Lukashenko had been addressing a narrow circle of staffers in one of the workshops, Lukashenko has defied the idea of holding another election, TUT.by reports.
Read alsoKremlin deploying Russian Guard troops to Belarus border – media (Photo, video)"Are you talking about unfair elections, seeking to hold fair ones?" he asked the crowd before hearing a resolute "Yes!" from protesting workers.
"I am answering this question. We have already held elections. Unless you kill me, there will be no other elections," Lukashenko stressed.
Unless you kill me, there will be no other elections
Belarus protests: developments
- On August 9, presidential elections were held in Belarus. The Central Election Commission said Lukashenko had sealed a sweeping win with 80.1% of the vote, while his main opponent Svetlana Tikhanovskaya gained 10.1%.
- Thousands of Belarusians took to the streets to protest what many believe was a rigged vote count.
- In a heavy crackdown on protesters, riot police fired rubber bullets, applied tear gas, and detained thousands, of whom many were beaten up and injured while in custody.
- A large number of detainees have since been released. In their comments to media and on social networks, they recall torture they had been subjected to by law enforcement.
- Belarus' largest-to-date March of Freedom was held in Minsk August 16, seeing hundreds of thousands rallying.
- On August 17, enterprises throughout Belarus went on strike.
- Svetlana Tikhanovskaya via a video address from Lithuania where she had fled shortly after the election said she was ready to take up the role of "national leader" to calm down the unrest and bring the country back to normal.