OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says Canada does not accept the results of the "fraudulent" presidential election in Belarus.
He says Canada is calling for "free and fair elections" in Belarus, where authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko is under increasing pressure to step down.
The statement from Champagne comes as strikes grew across Belarus, following a brutal dispersal of peaceful, post-election demonstrations last week.
At least 7,000 were detained by riot police, many complaining they were beaten mercilessly, while one protester was killed and hundreds were wounded.
Champagne, who spoke with opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya over the weekend, says Canada condemns the crackdown on protesters.
He is also calling for a thorough investigation by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, whose assessments of elections are widely regarded as authoritative.
"Canada joins its partners in the international community in condemnation of the crackdown on peaceful protesters following the presidential election in Belarus," Champagne says in the statement.
"We do not accept the results of this fraudulent presidential election in Belarus and call for free and fair elections," he says.
"Canada will continue to stand with the people of Belarus, and we will work with our international partners to ensure that their voices are heard and that those responsible for undermining democracy and for brutal actions against protesters are held to account."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 17, 2020.
— with files from The Associated Press