Tikhanovskaya in exile in Lithuania
Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya,37, has taken a “very difficult decision” to leave the country, after disputing an election she claimed was rigged.
Ms Tikhanovskaya said she did it for her children as protests continued for a second night.
In exile but “safe” in Lithuania, according to the country’s foreign minister.
The announced election results gave President Alexander Lukashenko 80% of the vote, but there have been widespread claims of fraud, and foul play with ballots.
Violent clashes between police and protesters have broken out over the two nights since the election was held, and there have been numerous reports of police brutality.
Ms Tikhanovskaya has united and galvanised the opposition, which presented a stronger than ever challenge to Lukashenko 26 years long presidency. Dabbed in free media as «Last Dictator» in Europe, he has established an autocratic rule after the collapse of the USSR.
The spontaneous opposition leadere announced her candidacy replacing her husband, a political blogger, who was arrested and prevented from registering for the vote.
But the 65-year-old president, who has ruled the former Soviet country since 1994, has described opposition supporters as a flock of “sheep” manipulated from abroad.