An exit poll published by the Belarusian state media puts strongman Alexander Lukashenko at nearly 80% of the vote in the presidential election. His rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya rejected the poll amid rising tensions.
Lukashenko won Sunday's election with 79.7% of the vote, according to an official exit poll.
Main opposition challenger Tikhanovskaya came second with 6.8%, according to the poll. However, Tikhanovskaya rejected the numbers.
In Belarus, security forces allegedly started detaining people who were still lining up to cast their ballots. Parts of the city center and the subway system were reportedly closed off by the police. Eyewitnesses spoke of groups of protesters being broken up by the security forces.
Police set up checkpoints outside the capital to quash potential protests at the election outcome and the detention of at least eight opposition campaign workers. After casting his ballot on Sunday, Lukashenko promised that "situation would not go out of hand." Problems with accessing websites in Belarus have been reported throughout the day.
On Sunday evening, Tikhanovskaya said Belarusians have "woken up."
Escalating protests were reported in Minsk and other major cities on Sunday evening. Belarusian nationals who attempted to vote in the country's diplomatic offices in Russia, but were turned away due to polls closing, were reportedly also protesting. An exit poll among the Moscow-based Belarusian expats showed 78.5% voting for Tikhanovskaya and only 6% for Lukashenko – a reverse result to the one published by the state media in Belarus.
Official preliminary results are expected on Monday.