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Question of the Day
“They compiled lists of those who took part in the early voting and may punish those who disobeyed,” said student Roman Gubarevich, who cast his ballot on Wednesday.
Mr. Lukashenko has intensified repression of the opposition since the 2010 presidential election, which triggered a mass protest against election fraud that was dispersed by police, who arrested about 700 people. Some are still in jail, including presidential candidate Nikolai Stankevich.
On Tuesday, plainclothes security officers beat an Associated Press photographer and briefly detained him along with seven other journalists as they covered a protest by four opposition activists calling for a boycott of the vote. The opposition activists have remained in custody.
An Australian television journalist was detained at the Minsk airport on Friday by authorities, who confiscated his camera, computer and all the material he had gathered during a week of reporting before the vote. The journalist, Amos Roberts of Australian SBS TV, left Belarus on Saturday but left behind his equipment, and it was not known whether it would be returned.
Given the relentless crackdown on dissent, observers don’t expect any significant post-election protests.
“The opposition was routed in the repressions that followed the presidential vote, and it has no energy for a useless struggle with a predictable outcome,” said Alexander Klaskovsky, an independent political analyst.
“It’s the most senseless campaign in a decade, which neither the people, the government nor the opposition want,” said Yaroslav Romanchuk of the Mises Foundation.
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