Opponent Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya calls for general strike in Belarus

Opposition supporters march through the streets of Minsk, Belarus, on October 25.

The Belarusian opponent Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya called on the evening of Sunday, October 25 her compatriots to strike on Monday. This initiative follows a new demonstration against President Alexander Lukashenko which brought together more than a hundred thousand people in Minsk, the capital.

“The regime has once again shown Belarusians today that violence is the only thing it is capable ofsaid Mme Tikhanovskaya on his Telegram channel. Therefore, tomorrow, October 26, a national strike will begin. ” The opposition has demanded the departure of Lukashenko since the presidential election on August 9, which they consider fraudulent. The 66-year-old man has been in power since 1994. The protests come under constant pressure from the authorities, resulting in the detention or exile abroad of all of his main representatives.

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Stun grenades were used by law enforcement officials on Sunday to disperse demonstrators and mass arrests were underway, opposition Telegram channels said showing scenes of panic with many fleeing protesters. Nearly 160 people had been arrested by early evening, according to human rights NGO Vesna.

Law enforcement officials block a road as opposition supporters gather in Minsk, Belarus, on October 25.

Threats of live ammunition

A leading figure in the opposition, Svetlana Tsikhanovskaïa, 38, issued an ultimatum to Alexander Lukashenko in October, giving him until Sunday to withdraw, failing which she would call for a monster mobilization and general strike. In the streets, the demonstrators marched on Sunday chanting “Strike! “. Mme Tsikhanovskaya also called for an end to police pressure as well as the release of all “Political prisoners”.

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From Lithuania, where she has taken refuge, and with the support of several Western leaders, she calls for a new presidential election. During a visit to Copenhagen on Friday, where she met Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod, she called for a new ballot ” as soon as possible “. In a statement, she then wrote that a date was to be set by the end of the year.

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“I know a lot of people are afraid of losing their jobs, she told Agence France-Presse (AFP) of the call to strike. We do not organize strikes, it is the people who decide for themselves whether they are ready or not. “ In previous strikes, especially in state-owned enterprises, strikers have come under great pressure.

After a brutal crackdown in the days after the election, authorities said this month they would fire live ammunition to disperse protesters ” if necessary “. President Alexander Lukashenko has shown no intention of complying with the claims of his critics.

The World with AFP

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