Belarus has been rocked by waves of protests since an August 9 presidential election that strongman Lukashenko says he won but the opposition, backed by Western countries, says was stolen.
Belarusian students, factory workers and pensioners answered a call by exiled opposition figure Svetlana Tikhanovskaya to launch a nationwide strike this week — a fresh move to force Lukashenko to hold new elections after months of mass protests.
Belarus has been gripped by unprecedented youth and women-led protests since President Lukashenko claimed victory in an August election.
Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya and French President Emmanuel Macron discuss free and fair elections for Belarus after the contested August 9 polls in which President Alexander Lukashenko won a sixth term.
Belarusian security forces detained dozens of protesters as crowds rallied in central Minsk accusing President Lukashenko of rigging last month's election.
The lawyer, Lyudmila Kazak was defending Maria Kolesnikova, a key member of a council Belarus’ political opposition set up to push for a new presidential election.
EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell says there is a clear will to adopt the sanctions, but the required unanimity was not reached, despite a plea for support from opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
Demonstrations broke out in Belarus after Alexander Lukashenko claimed to have defeated opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and won re-election with 80 percent of the vote on August 9.
Students have boycotted the beginning of the school year and there were also new protests at two of the large industrial plants.
Belarus is facing its biggest political crisis since the breakup of the Soviet Union, with tens of thousands of demonstrators saying veteran leader Alexander Lukashenko rigged the August 9 election to win.
The EU held an emergency summit on the crisis, rejecting Lukashenko's re-election in a disputed vote and announcing financial sanctions against officials the bloc blames for election fraud and a cracking down on protests.
The widening strikes come on the 10th straight day of unprecedented mass protests against election results that handed President Lukashenko his sixth term with 80 percent of the vote.
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