The Interior Ministry reported on Monday that Belarusian authorities has detained more than 500 protesters at unauthorised demonstrations as the opposition increased pressure for disputed President Alexander Lukashenko to resign.
An estimated 100,000 people attended protests in Minsk and other major cities on Sunday, as an ultimatum for Lukashenko to step down and release all political prisoners went unfulfilled.
The Belarusian Interior Ministry said in a statement “for violating legislation pertaining to public events, a total of 523 people were detained yesterday.
“ Of those detained, more than 350 were remanded in custody to appear before a judge.’’
There have been mass protests in Belarus every weekend since the disputed presidential election on August 9, due to allegations that the voting was rigged to ensure victory for Lukashenko, 66, who has led the former Soviet republic for more than a quarter of a century.
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the official runner-up according to the disputed official tally, called for nationwide strikes at state factories beginning on Monday in an effort to cut off revenue sources for Lukashenko’s government.
Tikhanovskaya called on the Belarusian public to support the striking state factory workers, saying in a statement that “today they are risking their personal freedom so that we will achieve freedom for our country.”
She asked employees of private businesses to strike for a single day on Monday, in solidarity with the striking state workers.
“After all, the strikes at the state enterprises are the lever of economic pressure,” she said.