Yesterday, May 1, in different countries of the world there were actions in honor of International Workers' Solidarity Day. As part of the events, participants voiced their demands to employers and governments of countries, including fair wages and working conditions. However, many of the events also featured other relevant topics. Many participants demanded the release of Belarusian trade union leaders from prisons.
In Europe, participants called for worker solidarity and condemned the military aggression against Ukraine. With the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, millions lost their jobs. According to trade unions, violations of labor rights have increased as the economy has fallen. Some demonstrators also voiced their support for Belarusian trade union prisoners, demanding their release.
The situation of workers' rights in Belarus often remains in the shadows, but the real problems continue to exist. In Belarus, persecution for dissent is constant. More than 1,500 people are recognized as political prisoners, including 32 trade union activists. Many are forced to hide from the regime, and some are already in prison. In such a situation, the ideas of solidarity and the struggle for workers' rights come to the fore and must be supported internationally.
This is what Alexandre Fernandez, one of the leaders of the São Paulo Metroviários Union, Unidos Pra Lutar e a Revolução, LIS in Brazil, said about the solidarity with the people and the workers of Belarus:
- Workers and trade unionists are being persecuted by the country's dictatorial government. At this moment, we ask everyone to show solidarity with the Belarusian people and trade unionists.
At the rally, the president of the All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions, Piotr Ostrowski, spoke about the leader of the BKDP, Aliaksandr Yarashuk, whom the regime sentenced to 4 years in prison for daring to speak truth to power.
Aliaksandr Yarashuk and other imprisoned trade union leaders were also remembered at the demonstration in Paris, where a member of the Association "Salidarnast" Yury Yarashuk was invited.
Solidarity with the BKDP activists was also shown by the protesters in Geneva, which was held by the international association IUF. The Netherlands comrades from FNV, who cooperate with BKDP for more than 20 years, also reminisced about the repression in Belarus and the destruction of democratic trade unions by Lukashenko's regime.
In Bremen, Germany, activists of the Association "Salidarnast" took part in a procession dedicated to May 1 and in a rally organized by the Bremen trade unions, where a banner demanding to stop the repression and release all political prisoners in Belarus was placed.
For thousands of protesters around the world, May 1 has become a day of unity and fight for their rights. We hope that such demonstrations of solidarity will help in the speedy release of Belarusian trade union leaders.