MINSK, Belarus (AP) — The top opposition candidate in Belarus' presidential election, who initially refused to concede defeat amid a massive police crackdown on anti-government protesters, said she had left for Lithuania and called on her supporters to stop demonstrating.
Looking haggard and distressed, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, 37, a former English teacher who entered the race after her husband's jailing in Belarus, apologized to her backers in a video statement and said it was her own choice to leave the country.
"It was a very hard decision to make," Tsikhanouskaya said. "I know that many of you will understand me, many others will condemn me and some will even hate me. But God forbid you ever face the choice that I faced."
In another video statem