“A lot of people here are more informed because they have relatives abroad, and we have a way to see how people can protest peacefully,” said Ms Pochebyt, who visited the main cathedral on Thursday. Orthodox Church to commemorate the victims of police brutality.
Whether or not fear prevents most protesters from taking to the streets this weekend and preventing workers from leaving work could prove decisive for Mr Lukashenko’s fate. By some estimates, last Sunday’s crowds in the capital Minsk called for the president’s departure to over 200,000 – the biggest protests in the country’s post-Soviet history.
Sergei S. Demenko, a roofer at a public construction company in Grodno, said many of his colleagues were only doing minimal work in the form of protest, but the pressure against them was increasing.
Standing in front of a police car announcing that protesters in the central square on Thursday evening were to disperse, Mr Demenko was furious. He said that many of his friends had gone to work in neighboring Poland, earning more money and enjoying a freer life. Although he works all the time, he still lived in a dormitory.
“I pay taxes, I have rights – why can’t I express my opinion?” asked Mr. Demenko, 35, adding that after a few days without arrest some of his more active colleagues had been detained the night before. “Why do they enforce the law on us ordinary people, but they themselves break it all the time?”