Belarusian security services said that opposition politician Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who called for annulling the presidential election, was targeted in an assassination plot. The opposition denied asking for police protection.
Tikhanovskaya has contested the results of Sunday’s election, which officially saw her getting 10 percent of the vote to the incumbent Alexander Lukashenko’s almost 80 percent. Protests that erupted after the results were announced saw 3,000 people detained by police.
KGB chairman Valery Vakulchik told reporters on Monday that the security service intercepted a phone call talking about the need for a “sacred sacrifice,” and said the sender has been identified. The KGB then sent 120 police personnel to provide protection to the opposition headquarters in Minsk, Vakulchik said.
Tikhanovskaya’s headquarters said they did not request protection from the authorities, however.
There were reports, amid mass protests on Monday, that Tikhanovskaya had been detained when she went to file a complaint at the Central Elections Commission offices. This was denied by the opposition spokesperson Anna Krasulin, who told Sputnik Belarus that Tikhanovskaya left the CEC building “through the back door” after spending nearly three hours there.
The opposition claims that Sunday’s election was plagued by fraud and irregularities and has called for its annulment. Lukashenko has responded by saying he will not allow a Maidan-style coup – referring to the 2014 events in neighboring Ukraine – and accusing Poland, the Czech Republic and the UK of backing violent protesters. Warsaw and Prague have denied the allegation.
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