Belarusian opposition calls for general strike after biggest protests to date | World news

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The Belarusian opposition called for a general strike from Monday, after tens of thousands of protesters gathered in the capital Minsk for the biggest rally in recent history, a further sign that the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko quickly loses support.The opposition’s call for a strike follows industrial action on Friday by thousands of workers in state-controlled factories, a traditional base of support for Lukashenko.

Strikers left vehicle factories, oil refineries, and fabric and fertilizer manufacturers, spurred on by the level of police violence against protesters in the week since election results gave Lukashenko 80% voices.

The authoritarian leader on Sunday rejected calls to resign in a provocative speech, and Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was ready to provide aid in accordance with a collective military pact if needed.

But Putin stopped short of offering support or approval for Lukashenko, who is facing the most serious crisis of his career. Moscow is likely to wait and see if Lukashenko can survive the next few weeks, if not days, as protests and labor strikes escalate and pressure mounts on him to leave office.

Crowds of protesters estimated at 100,000 marched through the streets of the capital to Central Independence Square on Sunday in what the independent Belarusian news site Tut.by called “the biggest in the world.” history of independent Belarus ”.

Columns of protesters raised signs of victory and held flowers and balloons as a sea of ​​protesters gathered in Independence Square, the center of peaceful protests in recent days.

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