On 14 August, even more Belarusians took to the streets for the sixth consecutive day to protest against a disputed election victory of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and police brutality against peaceful demonstrators both in the streets and inside detention centres. Today, they were joined by striking workers from various state-run industrial enterprises.
In an unprecedented move workers of various industrial factories are taking part in solidarity actions across Belarus. MAZ, MTZ, Belshina, Naftan, BMZ, Minks Metro and many others demand to declare the presidential elections invalid and hold new and fair ones.
They oppose the violence of the security forces against civilians; some also support the resignation of the incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko and the CEC headed by Lydia Yermoshina.
In a video footage below the workers of the Minsk Tractor Works (MTZ) are chanting “Freedom! Freedom”.
A similar scene was spotted at the Minsk Electrotechnical Plant (METZ). They were chanting “Go away, go away!”. This is what a second day of protest looked like there.
Employess of Zov-Plita, large Belarusian manufacturer of furniture in Grodno, also stood against violence. The workers of the Belarusian Steel Works (BMZ) also gathered near their enterprise today.
In Zhlobin, about 400 BMZ employees gathered near the new plant headquarters. The director came out to the workers. They don’t consider strike so far, work continues. The Grodno Azot enterprise workers are also on strike.
Workers demand to free all the detainees as soon as possible, remove riot police from the city and conduct an honest vote count, as they believe the announced election results were fraudulent. The mayor of Grodno visited the scene.
In Novopolotsk, the workers of Naftan put forward their demands to the management and city authorities. Employees of Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant (MZKT), a manufacturer of heavy off-road vehicles, joined the strike. Among other striking state-run enterprises are Gefest, a manufacturer of household kitchen stoves in Brest, its workers also want the incumbent president to leave.
In Zhodino, the workers of the Heavy Forging Plant also took part in the action of solidarity, according to the Sfera TV channel. At Minsk Automobile Plant, (MAZ) an automotive manufacturer, more than 1,000 workers gathered for a protest.
More than a hundred employees of the largest construction company in the country – MAPID JSC – took part in a solidarity action. They demanded to stop the violence, punish those responsible for the violence already inflicted, release political prisoners, and hold new presidential elections.
Several peaceful actions of solidarity were spotted around Minsk: a group of people were standing in front of the Motovelo (former Minsk Motorcycle and Bicycle Plant) gate and next to the Belarus State Economic University (BSEU).
MAZ (Minsk Automobile Plant) workers have formed a column of trucks and are now heading from my Avtaz neighborhood to the city centre! The trucks say “Stop beating people!” and “We want peace!” You are absolute legends lads!!! pic.twitter.com/YwLRMrzR5s
— Tadeusz Giczan (@TadeuszGiczan) August 14, 2020
Who else are striking, going to strike or taking part in Belarus-wide solidarity actions?
One of the largest manufacturers and exporters of potash fertilizers in the world Belaruskali, Minsk gears factory, Minsk Motor Plant, tyre manufacturer Belshina in Bobruisk, employees of Minsk Metro, Baranovichi Machine-tool Plant Atlant, employees and management of the construction plant Modern Concrete Structures, Belarus’ lingerie giant Milavitsa, Minsk cable networks, Grodno meat-processing plant, pharmaceutical enterprise Minskintercaps, Minsk furniture factory GeosIdeal, mining and processing plant in Petrikov, chenicals plant Polymir in Novopolotsk, railway depot in Lida.
A sugar factory in Zhabinka, the employees of the 558th aircraft repair plant in Baranovichi, Grodno stone processing plant, agricultural machinery manufacturer Gomselmash, Grodno company Terrazit Plus that produces virtual aircraft control devices, PVC and aluminum joinery announced an indefinite strike, Mozyr Oil Refinery, manufacturer of household cooking stoves Brestgazoapparat, manufacture of semiconductor devices and integrated circuits Integral, machining service company RESIF, Minsk National Airport, meat processing plant and dry baby food manufacturer Bellakt, ADANI company which produces medical equipment, etc.
At about 4 pm, MTZ workers marching to the central Independence Square in Minsk to peacefully protest in protest against rigged election results and police brutality. They were later joined by another column of protesters and ordinary Belarusians along the way.
Thousands of people have rallied across Belarus since Sunday, demanding a recount of the ballot that gave President Alexander Lukashenko a landslide victory with 80% of the vote, and his top opposition challenger only 10%. The final election results were announced by the Central Election Commission today.