She gave a statement to the police
24 August 2020, 18:15 | TUT.BY, Hrodna life
The head of “Grodnopromstroy” strike committee Yulia Slivko, a plasterer, says she has received anonymous threats by phone and on social networks. She raises her son alone. According to Yulia, the unknown callers said, “If you don’t shut up, keep in mind your son is out there, who knows what can fall on his head while he’s out walking.” After that, she took her son out of the city. Yulia isn’t certain it would be safe to bring him back before the start of the school year. She has already reported this situation to the police, says hrodna.life.
The strike committee at “Grodnopromstroy” had been formed after the mass arrests of 9-11 August.
“We were shocked to see people beaten up in the streets, we were shocked we weren’t allowed to express our opinion during the elections. We decided to go on strike. I was elected the head of the committee,” says Yulia.
About 500 employees of “Grodnopromstroy” supported the strike. Then, the bosses started to persuade them against it. There was a lot of pressure. The major argument of the management was, “How can you complain about your low salaries when you want to go on strike?” At this point, there are no more than a hundred activists left.
“The strike committee proposed to have a secret vote. Those who would be against [the strike], would be able to say so. We’d have to agree with the majority. But the people were under pressure [from the management]. They were so afraid of losing their jobs and their money they wouldn’t even vote,” Yulia continues. “Most of the people who supported the strike, have been transferred to the construction of a new oncological hospital. A special person is assigned to the brigade who checks their performance every day. We’ve never had anything like this before. On 21 August, they were shown some sort of a hand-written letter, without any signatures. Allegedly, it was written by doctors who asked us to carry on constructing instead of going on strike, because they need the new hospital.”
Soon, Yulia started receiving telephone calls with threats.
“Somebody called me from an anonymous number and said, ‘If you don’t shut up, keep in mind your son is out there, who knows what can fall on his head while he’s out walking,’” Yulia says.
Following the threats, she took her son out of the city. Yulia still isn’t certain it would be safe to bring him back before the start of the school year.
On 20 August, Yulia received another call. This time, the caller claimed to be a social worker. He didn’t introduce himself, but asked where Yulia’s son was. According to Yulia, the caller made a point that her son can be put on a list of “at-risk” children.
The son’s school made it clear there is no reason for that since Yulia and her son live in a family dormitory where the child has everything necessary to live and learn.
Yulia received yet another call on the same day. This time, the callers asked her to come to the local police station to talk about her participation in unauthorised mass events, but they did not clarify where exactly she needs to come. She asked to be served a summons.
“They told me, ‘If you don’t want to do it the nice way, we can do it differently,’” says Yulia.
“For administrative offenses, summons must be delivered in person and signed for,” commented Yevgeny Dudko, the press secretary of the Grodno Regional Police Office. According to him, police officers would have introduced themselves and it is “unlikely [they] would have spoken in a threatening tone.”
On 22 August, a couple of Telegram channels posted messages trying to discredit Yulia. The messages claimed that she allegedly paid employees to participate in the strike. Yulia’s and her son’s phone numbers were also published on the channels.
Yulia Slivko reported the threats, defamation, and publishing of personal information to Grodno’s Oktyabrsky District Police Office.