VILNIUS, LITHUANIA - AUGUST 21: Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, 37-year-old former teacher and stay-at-home mother turned politician, speaks for the first time in public at a press conference since fleeing Belarus on August 21, 2020 in Vilnius, Lithuania. Exiled opposition politician Svetlana Tikhanovskaya made her first public appearance after fleeing Minsk following growing protests after the August 9th contested elections that upheld the 26-year rule of Alexander Lukashenko. (Photo by Arturas Morozovas/Getty Images)
How stay-at-home mom became opposition leader in Belarus
04:04 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

A Belarusian activist has been ejected from the eastern European country by security forces, according to a statement from the Belarusian Coordination Council.

Olga Kovalkova, a confidant of the main Belarusian opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, was removed from the country on Saturday night, according to a statement from the organization.

The council is a body aimed at coordinating a peaceful and orderly transition of power and was established by Tikhanovskaya following Belarus’ disputed August elections.

“On the night of September 5, the Belarusian special services took Olga Kovalkova, a confidant of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, to the Belarusian-Polish border and released her to a no-man’s land,” the statement said.

Olga Kovalkova was masked by security service members, placed in a car and driven to the Polish border, where she was released.

According to the council, Kovalkova was offered two choices: She could be taken out of the country or she would be kept in custody in Belarus, with further terms of imprisonment constantly added to her sentence.

Kovalkova was then masked by security service members, placed in the back of a car and driven to the Belarus border town of Bruzgi, the statement added.

Once the activist was freed at the Polish side of the border, she boarded a regular bus to Warsaw.

Tikhanovskaya is also in exile, having fled to the Baltic nation of Lithuania at the height of the protest movement against President Alexander Lukahsenko.

Tikhanovskaya was the opposition candidate in Belarus’ August 9 election in which Lukashenko claimed a contested victory. Independent observers have criticized the August vote for being neither free nor fair. Unrest erupted soon after the result emerged, with tens of thousands marching in Minsk, the nation’s capital.

Thousands also marched in Minsk Sunday, as the anti-government protests continued.

More than 135 people were detained as security services cracked down on the mass demonstration, according to local human rights watchdog Viasna 96. The rights group said multiple arrests were made in other cities across Belarus, including Grodno and Brest.

The Belarus Interior Ministry has not yet responded to CNN’s request for comment.

The demonstration marks the fourth consecutive weekend of mass opposition protests in Belarus.

Lukashenko is often described as Europe’s last dictator and has remained defiant in the face of unrest.

On September 2 Belarusian police officers instigated a harsh crackdown on student protesters, after thousands marched in Minsk’s Independence Square against the government.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the last name of Belarusian opposition figure Olga Kovalkova.