Over the past several days Belarus has been rocked by protests. The unrest began after the results of the presidential vote showed incumbent president, Alexander Lukashenko, had secured his sixth term with over 80 percent of the vote.
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a Belarusian opposition presidential candidate, has urged the authorities in Minsk to halt the violence and engage in dialogue.
“The situation is critical. It pains me to see what has been happening in my country in the last few days”, Tikhanovskaya said in a video message.
The politician also asked all city mayors to organise peaceful rallies in every city on 15 and 16 August.
Tikhanovskaya, who was forced to flee to Lithuania after the presidential election, said she had in fact got up to 70 percent of the vote at some polling places, and invited Belarusians to sign a petition calling for a new vote count.
“Belarusians will never choose to live with the old government, the majority does not believe in his victory. We have always said that our choice should be protected peacefully, without any violence”, she said.
She also urged Belarusians to sign a petition calling for a new vote count with the participation of independent observers.
The opposition figure thanked those who went on strike at several organisations across the country, including several major factories.
Meanwhile, President Lukashenko has told the BELTA news agency that the strikes have played into the hands of Russia, Canada, the United States, and Germany, who will supply the market with their products. He added that it would be impossible to boost manufacturing in the country if workers go on strike.
Mass protests hit Belarus on 9 August following the presidential elections, which saw the incumbent head of state Alexander Lukashenko securing his sixth term, gaining 80.08% of the vote. Since Sunday, unauthorised actions have continued, but they have been harshly suppressed by security forces. Law enforcement officers deployed tear gas, water cannons, stun grenades, and rubber bullets against the protesters.