Metro strike ten years ago: first time the authorities use force against street protests in Minsk

2005 2005-08-17T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On 17 August the Congress of Democratic Trade Unions of Belarus conducts an information action in connection with the tenth anniversary of the Metro strike. According to the organizers, some of the information about the "hot" events of 1995 will be published for the first time, reports Radio Liberty.
It is known that the Minsk Metro was paralyzed in the morning 17 August 1995. Underground engineers went on strike after they had reported the violations of the collective labor agreement and the rates agreement to the authorities, procurator's office and even court. Metro workers had hoped the state structures would cooperate in a civilized way. However, the start of the strike proved otherwise: this did not happen.
Politicians in Belarus say now that the five day strike was the first time the authorities tried force against street protests in Minsk. Filtration stations in the internal troops units are also called to mind. Earlier these were gyms, then and now they are special purpose hangars. The chair of the Free Trade Union Hienadz Bykau turns attention to the abduction of people then: "Back in August 1995 Lukashenka rehearsed abduction of people. My relations were looking for me together with foreign diplomats. KGB, the Procurator's Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs said: "We know nothing about his whereabouts. This looks like some in-house affair". While I was in Akrestsina Street where they forced me to stay though I was a deputy of the local Soviet. Siarhei Antonchyk was a deputy of the Supreme Soviet. He was taken to the internal troops bases because they did not know what to do with him.
According to Hienadz Bykau, in five days of the strike 56 engineers, fitters and electricians lost their jobs at Minsk Metro. The leader of the Free Trade Union did not say anything about why these activists had not been put to prison. According to Bykau, the special service leaders then in 1995 refused to fulfill criminal orders, and after 1996 following the referendum a lot of senior officers left KGB (majors to colonels) and many decent people resigned from KGB.