Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko won re-election on Monday (August 10) with 80% of the vote, according to authorities.
It came hours after thousands gathered on the streets to cheer his opponent, crowding the streeets of the capital, Minsk, and other cities on Sunday (August 9) to say they believed the vote was rigged.
Then, police moved in.
They fired water cannons, tear gas and stun grenades at the protesters.
Lukashenko -- a former Soviet collective farm manager -- has ruled the country since 1994.
But a wave of anger has mounted against his government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, ontop of a deteriorating economy and poor human rights record.
Foreign observers have not judged an election to be free and fair in Belarus since 1995.
People shouted victory and blew horns in solidarity with the opposition -- Svetlana Tikhanouskaya -- a former English teacher who emerged from obscurity a few weeks ago and entered the race after her husband, an anti-government blogger who intended to run, was jailed.
The protests represent the biggest challenge to Lukashenko's iron grip in years.
A harsh response to the rallies could hurt his attempts to mend ties with the West, as relations with traditional ally Russia are strained.
Human rights groups say more than 1,300 people were detained in the crackdown ahead of the election, including independent election observers and members of Tikhanouskaya's campaign team.