FILE PHOTO: Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya wears a face mask ahead of a meeting with Slovak President Zuzana Caputova at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava, Slovakia, October 8, 2020. REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa
VILNIUS (Reuters) – Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said on Tuesday she will announce a country-wide strike unless President Alexander Lukashenko announces his resignation, halts violence and releases political prisoners by Oct. 25.
“If our demands are not met by Oct. 25, the whole country will be out on the streets, peacefully,” Tsikhanouskaya, who is in exile in Vilnius, said in a statement.
“On Oct. 26, all enterprises will begin a strike, all roads will be blocked, state-owned stores will no longer have any sales,” she added.
Belarus police will now be permitted to use combat weapons in the streets if needed, the Interior Ministry said on Monday, as security forces again clashed with protesters who want Lukashenko to quit after a contested Aug. 9 election.
Reporting By Andrius Sytas; editing by Niklas Pollard