Belarus strike to go ahead, says oppn leader

Minsk, Oct 26 : Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has said that a nation wide strike called on Monday against President Alexander Lukashenko, will go ahead despite police firing stun grenades at protesters the previous day.

In a report, the BBC said that social media posts have indicated that the strike was already on across the country.

Videos posted to independent media site show empty factories and students walking out of their universities.

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On Sunday, tens of thousands of demonstrators marched for the 11th successive Sunday of protests in the streets of Minsk and other cities across Belarus.

According to the rights group Vesna, more than 200 people were detained and about 100,000 people protested in Minsk.

According to the Belarusian Interior Ministry, riot control weapons were deployed later in the evening as large crowds continued to make their way through the streets of the capital, the BBC reported.

According to Russian media outlets, while at least 10 stun grenades went off, there were also reports that riot police had fired rubber bullets.

Security forces also blocked roads in central Minsk and water cannon were put in place.

Responding to the violence, Tikhanovskaya said in a social media post: “Today the regime has once again shown Belarusians that violence is the only thing it is capable of.

“Therefore tomorrow, October 26, a national strike will begin.”

The opposition leader, who lost the August 9 election against Lukashenko and has been in exile in Lithuania since, had earlier issued an ultimatum on October 13, threatening a mass walkout by workers.

Sunday has become the key day for street demonstrations since Lukashenko won more than 80 per cent of the votes int he August polls, securing another six years at the helm after being in power for 26 years.

Tikhanovskaya managed to garner only 10 per cent of the ballots.

Mass unrest since then has seen at least four people killed and hundreds injured.

A number of opposition figures have fled the country, including Tikhanovskaya, Olga Kovalkova and Veronika Tsepkalo.

Meanwhile, differing accounts have been reported over the whereabouts of another opposition figure, Maria Kolesnikova.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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