Belarusian opposition candidate taken to police station from hospital - wife

An opposition candidate in Sunday's presidential election in Belarus, Vladimir Neklyayev, who was injured and hospitalized during an unsanctioned protest rally following the vote the opposition claimed was rigged, has been taken to a police station, his wife told RIA Novosti.

"Plainclothes people broke into the ward. They said they were law enforcement officers. They took my husband from his bed into their car," Olga said.

The opposition and police accused each other of starting the clashes that have left several injured on both sides after the vote, which, according to preliminary results, saw incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko win a landslide victory.

Thousands of protestors tried to storm the government building, breaking windows and seizing batons from police, but were eventually dispersed. A few protestors and police officers were reported injured.

The opposition said another presidential candidate, Nikolai Statkevich, was beaten by law enforcers too. Opposition websites earlier reported that four presidential candidates, namely Statkevich, Andrei Sannikov, Grigory Koktusev and Vitaly Rymashevsky, were detained following the protests.

Several journalists, including Russia Today operators, were detained or beaten during the clampdown on the rally participants.

Lukashenko, who has ruled the 10-million-strong country with an iron rod since 1994, has been dubbed "Europe's last dictator" by the United States.

MOSCOW, December 20 (RIA Novosti)


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