Factory workers at the Belarusian Automobile Plant (BelAZ) marched on company grounds on Thursday, chanting “Resign!” addressing President Alexander Lukashenko. The opposition Telegram channel NEXTA Live shared footage from the demonstration. Videos have also appeared on Twitter.
According to the news website Tut.by, BelAZ workers assembled at the factory’s main entrance around noon to meet with management and demand free elections in Belarus. “There’s a lot of people here. It’s hard to count. The management came out to meet us and now they’re going to talk,” one of the workers told Tut.by.
NEXTA Live and other opposition outlets say the factory workers staged a strike, though the company’s representatives insist that the work stoppage wasn’t a strike but a planned staff meeting.
Another factory worker told MBK Media that employees left their workshops and marched outside. The same source says BelAZ locked at least one group of employees indoors to prevent them from joining the other protesters.
Workers at various enterprises in Belarus are protesting against Sunday’s presidential election results. According to the official vote tally, long-time incumbent Alexander Lukashenko won a landslide victory, though the opposition has refused to accept the results. Worker protests have been reported at the Agat Electromechanical Plant, the Byelorussian Steel Works, and factories operated by the “Keramin” ceramics manufacturer, the “Terrazyt” PVC and aluminum producer, the “Belmedpreparaty” pharmaceutical company, and the Belarusian State Philharmonic Society, as well as several businesses in the city of Grodno.