Belarus jails 600 for election protests

A Belarus court has jailed 600 protesters for up to 15 days for partaking in an anti-government demonstration and protesting against incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko's re-election.

Belarus police arrested hundreds of protesters, including four opposition candidates, as they attempted to storm the Central Election Commission and other government buildings in the capital of Minsk late on Sunday.

"The sentences were issued against more than 580 people in all," AFP quoted top Minsk police official, Leonid Farmagei, as saying on Tuesday.

"For the most part, these were administrative arrests of between five and 15 days in prison," he added.

According to unnamed police sources, prosecutors are still investigating the arrests and may sentence the organizers of the disturbances to up to 15 years.

Yet, many people, including minors, foreign journalists and those with children, were released earlier.

Lukashenko was re-elected in the first round of the Belarus election with 79.67 percent of the vote, the electoral commission announced on Monday.

According to the Election Commission, the turnout had been estimated at 90.66 percent.


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