Call for general strike in Belarus: an own goal?
In Belarus, opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya's ultimatum to President Lukashenka has expired. She had called a nationwide strike if he did not resign by 25 October, and since he failed to comply there has been a surge in the demonstrations, which Lukashenka described as "terrorism". Commentators are at odds over who is under more pressure now.
The ultimatum applies for the opposition too
Tikhanovskaya has overplayed her hand, Echo of Moscow suspects:
“The opposition's ultimatum to Lukashenka is also an ultimatum for the Belarusian protest itself. A border beyond which lies all or nothing. ... If the demands are not met, the opposition should really resort to actions that leave only one side standing: the dictator or the people. ... There are strikes and demonstrations, and there are pretty pictures and videos of Lukashenka's bandits. But whether this can be called a general, nationwide protest remains unclear. ... So far it doesn't differ much from what there was before.”
Lukashenka has his back to the wall
In a Facebook post republished by newsru.com, blogger Kirill Schulika sees the opposition's strategy of wearing down the president with constant protests as the right course, and Lukashenka's escalating threats as proof of this:
“Some say the protests are pointless and have failed. But the state power has become hysterical and the dictator is showing his panic. So this is not all in vain, they must go on step by step and make sure that Lukashenka is left with no more room for manoeuvre. He knows only too well that he can't exmatriculate all the students, dismiss all the workers and imprison all the demonstrators. The only reaction left to him is his baton-wielding troops and his ridiculous verbal threats. In this respect, all is well, because the troops and threats are no longer working.”