Babruisk hunger-strikers, questioned at police department, declare indefinite hunger-strike
Members of the primary unit of the Free Trade Union of Belarus, discharged from the plant of Tractror Details and Appliances, were detained near the Babruisk City Executive Committee where they continued their hunger-strike, and taken to the Babruisk District Police Department.
The policemen explained that the activists had been detained for “identification”. Deputy head of the police department Andrei Malakhau talked to Mikhail Kavalkou, Mikalai Zhybul, Aliaksandr Varankin, Aliaksandr Hramyka and Aleh Shauchenka.
“We told Andrei Malakhau about the aim of our hunger-strike and he replied that our actions are allegedly punishable under the article concerning unauthorized mass events”, said Mr. Kavalkou. “No reports were drawn up, we weren't proposed to sign any papers. We were released in several hours. Now we are discussing what to do next. However, we have already decided to declare an indefinite hunger strike.”
Mikhail Kavalkou noted that several workers of the plant intend to join the hunger-strike, as well as a number of Babruisk residents who are concerned with the recent dismissals of members of the free trade union.
“At present, about 20 people are ready to join the hunger strike. Tomorrow they are going to write an appeal addressed to the local officials and submit it to the executive committee. We haven't received any response from the city authorities so far,” added the head of the primary unit of the FTUB.
Let us remind that on Friday the hunger-strikers were promised a meeting with Chairman of the executive committee. But, apparently, Andrei Kavalenka did not want to discriminate in the problems of ordinary workers. A couple of days ago, the executive committee published at its website a kind of "answer" to the hunger strikers – an anonymous article “Hungry Trick”. An anonymous journalist of “Babruiskaye Zhyttio” mockingly describes the events related to the hunger strike and provides a similarly mocking commentary of the head of the Division of the Ideological Work, Culture and Youth Affairs of the executive committee, Mikalai Baliuk.
The article was republished by a number of local websites. However, despite the intentions of the authorities, it caused a contrary reaction. Babruiskers are outraged at such attitude of the anonymous “author” to the workers and comment on his style as "boorish".