Svetlana Tikhanovskaja, leader of the opposition in exile, has called on the whole of society to strike. Participation throughout the country, including workers from state industries, universities and schools, religious associations. Sunday 25 October, demonstration of 100-200 thousand people, repressed by the police and the security forces. Putin condemns the “state violence” as “unnecessary”. Mike Pompeo calls for the release of Vitalij Škljarov, an American political scientist of Belarusian origin who had joined the protests.
Moscow (AsiaNews) – The “people’s ultimatum” proclaimed by the opposition to President Lukashenko for usurping victory in the 9 August elections expired on 25 October.
The leader of the opposition in exile, Svetlana Tikhanovskaja, called on all Belarusian society to start a general strike on 26 October (photo 1), in public and private companies, including religious associations. Tikhanovskaja said the strike constitutes a “lever of economic pressure”, and the participation of private individuals is “an expression of solidarity”.
The ex-candidate and moral winner of the elections (photo 2) made her appeal through her Telegram channel, convinced that “private business, religious communities, men of culture and sport, computer scientists will support the strikers and stop their work on this day”.
Several public companies declared October 26 a public holiday. Throughout the country there are adhesions to the strike, despite the statements of the government spokesman Aleksandr Isaev, according to which “all Belarusian companies were working regularly at full capacity”.
In fact, news is coming from all sides of the large participation in the strike by workers in state factories, with various marches around them, and the same is happening in universities, despite threats from education minister Igor Karpenko (photo 3).
The day before the strike, 25 October was another Sunday of great demonstrations and violent repression by the police and the Omon teams, with many arrests and public beatings in the street. Participation in the march was the largest since August 30: between 100 and 200 thousand people, in response to the final appeals of Tikhanovskaja. Several thousand people gathered around the Red Church in the center of Minsk, calling for a strike and freedom in Belarus.
Foreign powers are also putting pressure on Lukashenko.
On 22 October, Sergej Naryškin, director of the Russian foreign security services visited and conveyed the greetings and recommendations of Vladimir Putin, insisting on the need for constitutional reform in Belarus in order to reach a new formula of the “unitary state”. Putin himself at the forum of economists of the Valdaj circle criticized the state violence in Belarus, declaring it “unnecessary” and adding that “whoever decided it will have to answer for it”.
On October 24, Lukashenko had a telephone conversation with Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state. The Belarusian president allegedly assured him that “the situation is under control, and we are conducting a dialogue with the opposition”, also referring to his recent visit to prison and talks with some of the opponents in prison.