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Belarus opposition leader demands ends to violence, free and fair elections

Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya gestures as she celebrates her birthday with members of the Belarusian community in Vilnius, Lithuania, September 11, 2020. REUTERS/Janis Laizans/Files

GENEVA (Reuters) - Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, in a speech at the U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday, demanded the country’s authorities end violence against protesters and set up a free and fair presidential election.

Tsikhanouskaya fled her homeland for Lithuania amid a police crackdown in Belarus following the Aug. 9 presidential election, which official results said incumbent Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide.

Speaking at the same event, Yury Ambrazevih, Belarus ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, said it was not acceptable to use the body to interfere in a country’s election.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Emma Farge, writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Toby Chopra