Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Belarus, held a meeting devoted to the work of the construction industry. During the meeting, Lukashenko made a few comments about the current crisis in the country.
"To begin with: I am still alive and not abroad, as some "well-informed" people say here. According to them, the president has left the country and is now abroad," he said.
Speaking upon the strikes in the country, Lukashenko said that "we should not force anyone." "If people want to work - they are welcome. Here is work, come and work. If a person does not want to work, we will not shackle them to force them to work,"
Speaking about the suspension of work at many factories throughout Belarus, Lukashenko said that this would only play into the hands of competitors.
"If they go on strike for two days, the competitors - the Russians and the Canadians - will cross themselves and they will quickly put on the market what they want to deliver," Alexander Lukashenko said. The same, he said, applies to machine-building factories.
He stressed that the world's economy was only beginning to recover after the restrictions associated with the pandemic. "If we stop, we will never start our production. Never! This will push us into a swamp. We need to explain it to people: if you want to go on strike - go, if you want to work - go to work," the president said.
Earlier, it was reported that the workers of the Belarusian Automobile Plant (BelAZ) at a meeting with their leadership demanded the factory should not give any BelAZ vehicles to security forces to disperse protests in the streets of Belarusian cities. The workers also demanded declaring a nationwide strike, demanded the resignation of the current administration of Belarus and the release of political prisoners.
Many other companies joined the national strike:
On August 10, workers of the Belarusian Metallurgical Plant (BMZ) went on strike in the city of Zhlobin. Strikes were reported at the Belarusian Automobile Plant, the Minsk Tractor Plant and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Subsequently, the reports were denied, but an employee of the Belarusian Metallurgical Plant confirmed that the workers put forward their requirements to factory administration.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko had a telephone conversation with US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan