WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Washington considers it "tragic" what is happening in the post-election environment in Belarus, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department said.
Washington and several of its allies questioned the results of weekend elections in Belarus that gave incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko another term in office.
Several hundred people were detained when police broke up a demonstration involving at least 10,000 anti-Lukashenko protesters in Minsk. Several presidential candidates were rounded up by authorities and opposition candidate Vladimir Neklyaev was arrested after being admitted to a hospital where he was being treated after having been beaten, allegedly by police.
Washington issued strong words condemning the political violence during the weekend. P.J. Crowley, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department said sanctions against Belarusian officials and companies would continue.
"Our sanctions will continue in place and it's tragic what has happened in Belarus," he said during his regular press briefing. "Respect for the democratic process and human rights of its citizens is at the center of our relationship and our aspirations for Belarus."
Washington said last month that the presidential elections were an opportunity for Minsk to improve its standing in the international community.