West Decries Flaws, Violence in Belarus Election

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Election violence has spread in Belarus, the country called by many as the "last dictatorship in Europe."

Seven of the nine candidates opposing current ruler Victor Lukashenko were taken into custody. Witnesses said one was beaten by government security forces, then dragged from his hospital bed by men in plain clothes.

Belarus was a part of the former Soviet Union. On Sunday, it looked like history repeating as riot police beat protesters on the streets of Minsk.

Election results revealed Monday showed strongman Victor Lukashenko with more than 80 percent of the vote and the winner of a fourth term in office.

Russ Jones of the Christian Press News is in Belarus serving as an election observer. CBN News spoke with him by phone about the situation.  Click here for his comments.

U.S. and European observers called the results "seriously flawed." The White House condemned the election violence.

A top opposition leader was beaten unconscious as he led a group protesting the election outcome.

Lukashenko bristled at the criticism of how police handled the demonstration, saying it was beyond the OSCE election observers' mandate

.

"What does what happened at night have to do with the election? The election was over," he said at a news conference Monday.

The U.S. Embassy said Washington "strongly condemns all election day violence in Belarus."

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said that "it's not acceptable to harass, beat, or arrest opposition candidates and their supporters who want to exert their right to freedom of expression."

Poland's Foreign Ministry also condemned the crackdown, saying in a statement that "the brutality of the security forces is inadmissible."

He appealed for the immediate release of the opposition candidates, saying their arrests raise "particular concern."

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