US says 'deeply concerned' by Belarus election
The US government expressed serious concern Monday about the Belarus presidential election, saying the poll in which longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko was declared the landslide winner was tainted and that authorities should allow protests.
"The United States is deeply concerned about the conduct of the August 9 presidential election in Belarus, which was not free and fair," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
"We strongly condemn ongoing violence against protesters and the detention of opposition supporters, as well as the use of internet shutdowns to hinder the ability of the Belarusian people to share information about the election and the demonstrations," he added.
Pompeo also criticized the country's severe restrictions on ballot access for candidates and prohibition of independent election monitors.
President Donald Trump's press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that "intimidation of opposition candidates and the detention of peaceful protesters" were among numerous factors that "marred the process."
"We urge the Belarussian government to respect the right to peaceably assemble and refrain from use of force," she told reporters.
Lukashenko, Belarus's ruler for a quarter century, has been named the landslide winner of the election.
Police are violently cracking down on protesters who say the poll was rigged against opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.