Belarusian law enforcement officials say they have managed to take control of the situation in Minsk, where unauthorized rallies began after results of the exit polls from the presidential election on Sunday were announced, BelTA news agency said on Monday referring to the Interior Ministry.
"The police control the situation at unauthorized mass events," it said.
Protests began in different parts of the capital city after the results of the exit polls had suggested a landslide victory of President Alexander Lukashenko. Several thousand people reportedly took part in the protests.
Law enforcement officers took action to prevent protesters’ attempts to march down city streets. Police and riot police units assisted by interior troops began ridding central Minsk of protesters.
According to TASS, the most serious clashes were seen in the area of Masherov Avenue, the site of yearly military parades. They also engulfed nearby districts, as well as Minsk’s Old Town, Independence Avenue and areas around Gorodskoy Val Street in the historic part of the city.
Special police vehicles were dispatched there. Stun grenades, water cannons and pepper spray were used against protesters. According to eyewitnesses, police used rubber bullets at a certain point. The number of people injured in clashes is specified. Dozens of ambulance cars were seen. The number of detained protesters is not given as of yet, but the number of prison buses suggests that hundreds were nabbed.
The police operation continued for about four hours. At the moment, police and crack police units have full control of the situation in Minsk. Many streets were cordoned off.
Exit polls at the presidential election give incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko over 70% of the vote. His main rival, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is winning between 6.8% and 10.1%. The voter turnout was 84.05% as of 20:00 on Sunday.