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Article

Belarus: Trade unionists under attack after anti-government protests and strikes

'Calls for EU to act over Belarus as union leaders are targeted', August 17, 2020

Trade unions throughout Europe are working … to bring pressure on the EU to force tough sanctions against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his government after independent trade unions in Belarus came under attack. Lukashenko is clinging on to power after independent observers reported serious fraud, manipulation and irregularities before, during and after the recent elections. The authoritarian regime has cut internet access, arrested independent trade union leaders, activists and members, protestors and independent journalists… Strikes by workers are gathering apace as the confidence of the opposition grows. Workers at state-run factories have staged walkouts and many have joined street marches against Lukashenko. There is now a call for a general strike across the country… The former president of the Independent Trade Union of Belarus (BNP) Mikalaj Zimin, together with at least three other activists, have been arrested. Zimin was sentenced to 25 days of detention while attending peaceful protests in the city of Soligorsk. His colleague Maxim Sereda was sentenced to 12 days. Jan Roman, a journalist and activist of the Free Metal Workers’ Union (SPM), was brutally beaten and detained at a police station, after going to enquire about the fate of colleagues who had been arrested…