US News Belarus: the opposition announces the start of a strike, despite pressure

17:05  26 october  2020
17:05  26 october  2020 Source:   lepoint.fr

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  Bélarus : l'opposition annonce le début d'une grève, malgré les pressions © Provided by Le Point

The Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa announced on Monday the start of a strike movement to encourage the President Alexander Lukashenko , the day after another major demonstration against the government in Minsk.

"As early as this morning, employees of public companies and factories, the transport sector, miners, teachers and students started to strike," she said on Telegram messaging.

"The strike in public enterprises is a lever of economic pressure. And that in the private sector is a sign of everyone's solidarity, it is just as important", added the opponent.

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In an interview broadcast on Youtube, she said this was "just the beginning" and claimed that "over seven million dollars" in donations had been collected to help the strikers.

With the Belarusian state controlling much of the economy, previous strikes in iconic factories did not last, in the face of intimidation and threats of layoffs.

According to a journalist from the AFP , nearly 2,500 protesters, mostly students and retirees, went up in the afternoon one of the main arteries of the capital, chanting slogans against Alexander Lukashenko and carrying red and white flags, the colors of the opposition.

"I am demonstrating against those who seized power illegally", says Maria Bouriak, 74 years old. Ivan Prokhorov, a student, said he wanted to live in a country "where the people have power, not the riot forces".

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Videos shared by the opposition also showed rallies dispersed by police. According to the NGO Viasna, more than 180 people were arrested on Monday, mostly in Minsk.

Pressure on the strikers

The independent media Tut.by for its part broadcast images of workers leading solidarity actions in at least five public firms, notably in the chemical plant Grodnoazot, in western Belarus.

On the other hand, massive strikes have not yet been reported. A government spokesperson for her part assured Monday morning that businesses were operating normally.

"It is difficult to know how far people will go because of the great pressure from the authorities," Alexander Yarochouk, head of the Belarusian Confederation of Democratic Trade Unions, told AFP, specifying that he did not call to do so. strike.

"Some of our employees have joined the strike," said Natalia Bezroukova, 54, a striker in a public construction company interviewed by AFP in the center of Minsk.

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The Belarusian opposition demands the departure of Mr. Lukashenko, 66, in power since 1994, after the presidential election deemed fraudulent on August 9. The protest movement has since come under constant pressure from the authorities.

Sunday, a new demonstration brought together more than 100,000 people in the capital. Stun grenades were used by police to disperse the crowd.

A total of 523 people were arrested that day on the sidelines of protests across the country, according to the Interior Ministry .

For the political scientist Artiom Chraïbman, if the opposition manages to regain the initiative and to mobilize still as many people, it could "push the adversary to the error".

"For fear of a growing number of people in the streets again, the government will need to change its tactics: either give in strongly (free political prisoners, speed up constitutional reform), or take a new step in repression ", he commented on Telegram.

After brutally putting down the protests in the days following the election, the authorities warned this month that they would fire live ammunition "if necessary". But that did not prevent new gatherings. For his part, President Lukashenko, backed by Moscow, has shown no intention of folding.

26/10/2020 15:28:57 - Minsk (AFP) - © 2020 AFP

Argentina: Belarusian Ambassador slams the door in Lukashenko's face .
© Sergei Sheleg Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk, October 21. Not recognizing the legitimacy of the Belarusian president, re-elected in a fraudulent election in August, Vladimir Astapenka decided to leave his functions. One more defection for Alexander Lukashenko. "The Head of State's lack of international legitimacy does not allow me, as a diplomat and patriot of my country, to continue my mission as ambassador." This is how Vladimir Astapenka, Ambassador of Belarus to Argentina, who also has dip

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