Thousands of workers join the protests in Minsk, Belarus, after going on strike
Thousands of workers from the Minsk Tractor Factory, one of Belarus' largest companies, went on strike and marched today through the center of the Belarusian capital demanding the resignation of the president, Alexandr Lukashenko.
The workers walked towards the area where the government buildings and the central electoral commission are located without the police intervening to stop their advance.
According to local media, the workers decided to join the anti-government protests after the prime minister, Roman Golovchenko, who had appeared at the plant, refused to speak with them in the presence of the press.
Some workers did decide to remain on the premises to speak with Golovchenko.
Workers of the Belaruskalia company have also gathered in front of the central building of the company to protest, demand the release of the detainees and the resignation of the country's president, and the same thing happened in the BelAZ automotive factory and in the chemical plant of Grodno.
Similar actions, which the press call strikes even though workers do not present labor or wage demands, are taking place in the main companies, factories and plants of the construction, processing, energy and chemical sectors of the former Soviet republic.
The press reports that Minsk has not been the scene of massive labor marches since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Thousands of people have already gathered in the Independence Square, the most important in Minsk and where the seat of the Belarusian Government is located.
Under the watchful eye of the police, the protesters demand the resignation of Lukashenko and the president of the central electoral commission, Lidia Yermoshina, who today officially awarded the president victory in the August 9 elections with almost 80% of the votes .
As the forces of order equipped with metal shields have not proceeded to disperse those present, several women have distributed among them flowers shouting "the police with the people."
The leader of the Belarusian unified opposition, Svetlana Tijanóvskaya, broke several days of silence after her exile in Lithuania to demand the withdrawal of the police from the streets, the release of the detainees and ask the Belarusians to continue the peaceful protests.
The supporters of change are the majority, he proclaimed.