Lukashenko, a gruff former collective farm boss facing the biggest crisis of his 26 year rule, has blamed foreign countries for stirring unrest and funding protesters. At least two protesters have died and thousands have been jailed, many emerging to complain of beatings and abuse.
By the end of Wednesday (August 19) evening, there was no sign of a major new operation to clear demonstrators from the streets. Hundreds of protesters assembled in front of the Interior Ministry, which runs the police. A large number of officers were stationed there with vans, but they took no action.
Elsewhere on Wednesday (August 19), workers from a state-run chemical plant took part in a strike on a eleventh day of protests against Lukashenko.
The Grodno Azot chemical plant joined the series of countrywide protests by workers demanding Lukashenko to step down, which have started last week at such factories as MAZ and Belaz .