Status report from Belarus
Today it has been two weeks since the beginning of the protest and the start of the solidarity movement. This week has had its ups and downs.
At the beginning of the week, strikes took off all around Belarus. Not only state enterprises, such as Belaruskaliy, the largest potash producer in Europe, but also utility workers, private enterprises, hospitals, theaters, and some universities, were demanding justice through civil disobedience actions. Strike committees were being created everywhere to coordinate disparate strikes with the aim of a nationwide one. This has made the illegitimate president nervous, willing to lull workers’ vigilance with some promises that will never be fulfilled, he delivers a speech within the walls of one of the striking enterprises, explaining how they, the workers, are skillfully manipulated by some evil Western forces. In less than a minute, the crowd booed the dictator, preventing him from finishing his speech.
A day after strikes committees were created and their heads were appointed, persecution of the strikers began, apart from the management of enterprises, trade unions began to put pressure on strikers. Many workers, on pain of dismissal and loss of income, refused to participate in the protests, many were unable to join physically, as they were locked up during the working day at their workplaces. Several heads of strike committees were detained or disappeared. A wave of layoffs swept across some enterprises. By the mid of the week, strikes decreased twice countrywide. To support the workers, Belarusian citizens created a fund of solidarity with workers to raise funds for the needs of the strikers and their dare, as many are threatened with termination of labor contracts and financial losses. Belarusian entrepreneurs, community activists, and IT specialists have launched retraining courses, initiatives for collecting and preparing children for school, paying fines, free meals, and medical assistance to all victims of the protests. This is an incredible consolidation that dictator is trying to demonize by intensified propaganda not only on TV but in all major social networks and messengers (it’s confirmed that many fired broadcasters and journalists from the national TV were replaced with the journalists from Russia Today). The dictator keeps on saying about the horrors of the country that is divided and at the same time he awards 300 police and riot police officers “for the valiant work” while we are still receiving more evidence of violence and brutality against detainees and death reports of the protesters. How is that not supposed to divide the country?
In addition to that, the regime has decided to divide the population based on the symbolics and launched a massive info attack against historic symbolics as well as pro-governmental demonstrations in all of the major cities of the country. In response to this, several hundreds of thousands of free Belarusians marched through Minsk today. People in 55 other cities and towns took to the streets, holding official and non-official symbolics and asking citizens not to engage in the governmental provocation.
The opposition has created a Coordination Council as a representative body for the dialogue between the illegitimate president and the civil society of Belarus. This is the body that supposes to set new elections and supervise the transfer of power. The Council has been built on a diversity principle and includes outstanding Belarusians like Sviatlana Alexievich (Nobel prize in literature), mediators, politicians, businessmen, and professionals in various fields, including some heads of striking committees. The in the first session of the Council it was announced that this body has no aim to overthrow the government as it was created to conduct a full-fledged dialogue not between the current regime and the opposition, but with the entire civil society of the country. Unfortunately, a day after its creation the dictator initiates a criminal case against the Сouncil’s members for attempting to encroach on power and the state system.
The dialogue doesn’t seem to happen. After a week of intimidation with violence, insults against protesters, awards for those guilty of tortures and murders, accusations of the US in a conspiracy, threats to close down all striking factories, the propaganda of war with the NATO and criminal cases against prominent people in the country, he brings the army on alert, supplying riot police and his underaged son with firearms, he takes a machine gun and prepares to deal with his own people while defending his residence. Cheerful riot police nearby promise him they will stay with him till the end…Till the end