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Action in Berlin demands release of Belarusian union activists

A rally in Berlin on April 19 which gathered around 20 representatives of German and Belarusian independent unions became a part of the global campaign on the Day of Action for Trade Union Rights and Democracy in Belarus.

The Berlin action “Trade Union Activity Is Not Extremism” was designed to draw global public attention to the violations of workers’ rights in Belarus. Participants spoke against the police terror, torture, and persecution faced by those who oppose Lukashenka’s dictatorship, union activists among them.

In their speeches the union leaders mentioned not only the 42 union leaders and activists who are currently in prison but also those who face court trials at the moment. The participants carried the portraits of Volha Brytsikava, the former leader of the independent workplace union at the Naftan oil refinery, whose case is being tried before the court in the town of Vitsebsk these days.

The campaign featured support statements from union and political leaders, including Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya who highlighted the arrests of trade union leaders and the repression of independent unions in the country.

The online conference in support of the Belarusian independent unions and democracy in Belarus that was held on the same day brought together dozens of leaders of international and national trade unions. They included representatives of the major trade associations, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the IndustriAll Global Union, the IUF International Union, and others. The participants demanded the release of all trade union and political prisoners and putting a stop to repressions.

Some trade union confederations sent letters to Belarusian consulates and embassies in their countries, demanding the release of imprisoned union leaders.

The campaign organized by the Solidarity Association and the International Trade Union Confederation advocates the protection of trade union activists and the restoration of guarantees for legitimate trade union activities. The campaign’s launching date marks the anniversary of the 2022 anti-union pogroms committed by the Lukashenka’s regime.

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