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Thousands of tractor plant workers head to downtown Minsk after PM’s refusal to talk

They demand resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko and new elections, a TASS onsite correspondent reported

MINSK, August 14. /TASS/. Several thousand workers of the Minsk Tractor Plant headed from its premises to downtown Minsk after Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko refused to talk to them, a TASS onsite correspondent reported.

A procession of demonstrators, chanting "Go away!" is marching down Independence Avenue. Passing by the Minsk Cogwheel Plant, they chant: "Join us!"

Earlier, the prime minister arrived at the tractor plant to meet with its workers but they demanded to talk to him outside by the plant’s front gate with journalists present. They demanded resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko and new elections. Additionally, the workers demanded that "the troops are moved out of the city and all political prisoners are released with dismissal of all charges."

The Central Election Commission of Belarus on Friday published the final results of the presidential election which was held on August 9. According to the commission, the election was won by incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko with 80.1% of the vote. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who was considered his closest rival, got 10.12% of the vote. Votes for other candidates were distributed as follows: Andrey Dmitriev - 1.21%, Anna Kanopatskaya - 1.68%, Sergey Cherechen - 1.14% and against all candidates - 4.59%.

Similar exit poll results were announced on Sunday after the election. Later mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other regions of the country, leading to clashes between protesters and law enforcement forces. Since Sunday, residents have been taking to the streets in the evenings. As a result, according to the republic’s Interior Ministry, over 6,000 people were detained and dozens of policemen and protesters were injured.