A nationwide strike announced by opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has started on Monday morning, 26 October. Employees of numeours state enterprises, universities, hundreds of private organizations – medical centers, shops, bars, cafes, language schools, gyms, travel companies, design studios, beauty salons– have joined the protest. Strikes are a result of the expiration of the People’s Ultimatum demanding Lukashenko to resign, violence to stop and political prisoners to be released. The demands of the Ultimatum were not fulfilled.
IT-specialists, miners, doctors, teachers, students, artists, transport workers and many others have joined the strike across the country. There were many photos and videos from various state enterprises – MTZ, Grodno Azot, MZKT, Atlant, MAZ Belkommunmash etc.– showing their employees going on strike since early morning. Some workers reported about the administration and riot police trying to force them back. Meanwhile, human chains of solidarity kept appearing in different parts of the city.
A video shows the moment of a person being detained at Grodno Azot. Later in the day, police officers detained several people for participating in an unauthorized event.
MTZ [Minsk Tractor Works], a blacksmith shop. The workers were clapping and chanting “Join us!”. “Join us!”.
MTZ workers were marching inside the plant urging their colleagues to join the strike. A paddy wagon and a minibus with security forces inside were spotted at the plant’s entrance.
Workers of Atlant [a manufacturer of household appliances] were marching inside the plant chanting “Join in!”, “Join in!”. Some left the building and were striking outside the plant. A paddy wagon and police officers were on duty near the plant.
“Minsk Electrotechnical Plant. At 9.40 am, the main workshops and departments have stopped working, people are just talking to each other,” TUT.BY reader reported.
The Belarusian Automobile Plant [BelAZ] continues to work as usual, all employees are at their working places, the press service of the enterprise told RIA Novosti.
A human chain of solidarity of workers of Stroytrest No. 4 chanting “Long live Belarus!”.
About 1,000 IT-specialists of Hi-Tech Park Belarus took part in a protest rally, about 10 people were detained. Special means [most likely stun grenades] were used to disperse the rally. After a while, IT-specialists came back and created a human chain again.
At the same time, there were large crowds and solidarity human chains of protesting students on the main campuses of BSU, BNTU, BSUIR, MSLU, BSMU, BSEU and others. At some point, they took to the streets and arrests started, several people were detained.
The video footage shows the moment of confrontation between riot police and students gathered at the BSU. The youngsters were chanting chanting straight in the face of OMON officers: ‘Get out, you [Lukashenko] and your OMON!”.
At about 2 pm, Belarusian pensioners gathered in Independence Square near the Red Church. Today they were backed by students and healthcare workers. The united procession was chanting “Together we are the power!”, “Why are you sitting here? Go on strike!”
The scale of the march of pensioners and students from a bird’s eye view.
On their way to Yakub Kolasa Square, the protesters were chanting “Karaev [Interior Minister] on trial!”, passing the KGB building, “Tribunal!” chants were heard. According to various estimates, up to 8,000 people took part in a mixed student-pensioner protest.
Seniors and students were singing and dancing to a Belarusian folk song Kasiu Yas Kanushynu at Yakub Kolas Square. Kolas is a famous classic writer of Belarusian and world literature. His granddaughter has been spotted among the participants of the rally.