Aug. 17 (UPI) -- A day after protesters demonstrated against Belarus' authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, Britain on Monday said it rejected the results of his controversial re-election, warning to impose sanctions against those responsible.
"The world watched with horror at the violence used by the Belarusian authorities to suppress the peaceful protests that followed this fraudulent presidential election," Foreign Secretary Dominic Raad said in a statement Monday. "The U.K. does not accept the results."
Belarus' capital city of Minsk has been subsumed by protests since Aug. 10 when protestors took to the streets in opposition to election results that said Lukashenko had won a sixth term with 80 percent of the vote.
Opponents accuse the Aug. 9 election of being rigged and opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has rejected the results.
Thousands have been arrested in the subsequent crackdown on protesters in a police action rights organizations have condemned.
Late last week, Amnesty International with local human rights groups said they have documented protesters being tortured or subjected to other forms of ill-treatment.
"It is now becoming increasingly clear that the bloody scenes on the streets of Belarus are just the tip of the iceberg," said Amnesty International's Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia Marie Struthers said Friday in a statement.
On Sunday, upwards of 200,000 people in Minsk demonstrated against Lukashenko with some demanding he resign, as a smaller crowd cheered him on.
In a speech to his supporters, Lukashenkov accused NATO troops of being "at our gates" while rejecting the idea of holding new elections.
"Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and our native Ukraine are ordering us to hold new elections," he said. "I have never betrayed you and will never do so."
NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu rejected the notion, stating the alliance isn't a threat to any country as it is a defensive force.
"There is no NATO buildup in the region," she said via Twitter, adding that they are closely watching the situation. "General Jens Stoltenberg has said fundamental freedoms must be respected, including freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest."
Raad on Monday called for an independent investigation by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe "into the flaws that rendered the election unfair, as well as the grisly repression that followed."
"The U.K. will work with our international partners to sanction those responsible, and hold the Belarusian authorities to account," he said.