The United States is "deeply concerned" about the conduct of presidential elections in Belarus, said US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Monday while alleging that the polls were not conducted in a "free and fair" manner.
"The United States is deeply concerned about the conduct of the August 9 presidential election in Belarus, which was not free and fair. Severe restrictions on ballot access for candidates, prohibition of local independent observers at polling stations, intimidation tactics employed against opposition candidates, and the detentions of peaceful protesters and journalists marred the process," Pompeo said in a statement.
As per Sputnik, Belarus held its presidential election on Sunday with incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko winning 80.23 per cent of the vote. The results sparked mass protests in the country, resulting in the arrest of 3,000 people.
The Secretary of the State urged the Belarusian government to "respect rights of all Belarusians to participate in peaceful assembly and refrain from the use of force."
"We urge the Belarusian government to respect the rights of all Belarusians to participate in peaceful assembly, refrain from the use of force, and release those wrongfully detained," he said.
Condemning the ongoing violence against protesters and the detention of opposition supporters, Pompeo said: "We strongly condemn ongoing violence against protesters and the detention of opposition supporters, as well as the use of internet shutdowns to hinder the ability of the Belarusian people to share information about the election and the demonstrations."
"As friends of Belarus, we support Belarusian independence and sovereignty, as well as the aspirations of the Belarusian people for a democratic, prosperous future," he added. (ANI)