Protesters, police clash during 2nd night of protests over disputed Belarus election

Demonstrators in Belarus run after being hit by water cannons.
(Image credit: Sergei Gapon/AFP via Getty Images)

For the second night in a row, protesters who believe Belarus' presidential election was rigged took to the streets of Minsk, with thousands of people participating in Monday's demonstration.

In response, riot police fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades at the crowd, BBC News reports. Officials said one protester was killed when the explosive device they were carrying went off in their hands. This comes as Lithuania's Minister of Foreign Affairs tweeted early Tuesday that opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has fled to Lithuania, where she is now "safe."

On Sunday, the government said President Alexander Lukashenko, an authoritarian leader who has held power since 1994 and is known as "Europe's last dictator," won the presidential election with 80 percent of the vote. No outside observers were allowed to monitor the election, and the internet was down for much of the day, which opposition leaders claim was done on purpose so it was hard to share evidence of election fraud.

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In years past, Lukashenko has not had any serious challengers, but this time, there was a popular opposition candidate: Tikhanovskaya, a former teacher. The government says Tikhanovskaya only received 9.9 percent of the vote, but she said on Monday she was the true winner, as the results announced by the Central Election Commission "do not correspond to reality and completely contradict common sense."

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