Otago Daily Times
Strike actions start in Belarus
MOSCOW: Factory workers chanted slogans, students staged a sitin and police began detentions last night as Belarusians answered an opposition call for a national strike to force President Alexander Lukashenko to quit.
Lukashenko had defied an ultimatum to surrender power by 10am yesterday (NZ time). His refusal to quit will test whether the opposition has the mass support it needs to bring enterprises across the country to a halt.
Exiled opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has urged Belarusians to block roads, shut down workplaces, stop using government shops and services and withdraw all money from their bank accounts.
Lukashenko has scoffed at the calls, asking ‘‘Who will feed the kids?’’ if workers at stateowned enterprises go on strike.
Tsikhanouskaya called for the strike to go ahead after police fired stun grenades and detained scores of people in a clampdown on protests by tens of thousands in Minsk and elsewhere at the weekend.
Reports late last night said police had detained 523 people yesterday, including 160 in Minsk. — Reuters