He refused to leave the mine until his requirements were met
10 September 2020, 8:16 | ByHELP-mediagroup
On the morning of 10 September, the Belarusian portal TUT.BY reported that the miner Yuri Korzun handcuffed himself to mining equipment at his workplace and is going to stay in the mine until his demands are met. This was reported by the Belaruskali strike committee, the same information was posted on the VKontakte page of Yuri Korzun.
In his appeal, he wrote that on 8 September he turned 42 and lived all his adult life under Alexander Lukashenko. He is sure that only workers of enterprises will be able to force the authorities to return to the legal field and to start a peaceful dialogue.
“Today I made my choice. I start the protest at the working place in the face, 1,000 ft under the horizon. I press the STOP button! I refuse to leave the mine before the authorities start fulfilling my requirements,” he wrote in his appeal.
“I demand to immediately stop the intimidation and dismissal of workers, to release all detained members of the strike committee, to end the practice of abduction of citizens of Belarus by unknown people, put an end to the physical violence against peaceful protesters and the resignation of the illegally holding the post of head of state Alexander Lukashenko,” Korzun wrote.
He also noted that he is taking this step in a healthy psychological state, and emphasizes that the protest is exclusively peaceful.
“I have no intention of inflicting physical injury on myself or others or committing suicide,” he added.
According to the strike committee, the head of the mining site and the chief engineer went to the miner. It was not possible to get a comment from the press service of Belaruskali early in the morning.
About three hours after his announcement, Yuri Korzun was “rather roughly” lifted from the mine to the surface, the Naviny.by portal wrote. The handcuffs and chain were cut with special equipment. The miner was taken by an ambulance to the Soligorsk central regional hospital, where he was examined. His health turned out to be “all right.”
In his interview, the “hero of the day” said the following:
“It’s a bit of a shame that my action was interrupted so quickly. I was chained in a mine for about three to three and a half hours. I was just physically not allowed to do it any longer. But I think that I still achieved a certain result. First of all, I wanted to be heard and to express the demand to stop the pressure on us. Pressure from the employer on people who speak out against violence, lawlessness, murders that take place in the country and the election fraud. People speak out against it, and for this they are punished, dismissed, deprived of bonuses and so on. I think this is a huge pressure. It must stop,” said the miner.
He also said that he held the action in such a way that the management of the enterprise would pay attention to the demands of the workers.
“I have not taken any radical action. I did not harm production. Didn’t even let the shift down. I have completed all my work duties. I do not consider this to be an extreme measure. They just don’t pay attention to us in another way. I wanted to be heard and start a dialogue. The leadership refuses this dialogue in every possible way, but completely in vain, because there are too many people who are unhappy with the situation and are categorically against what is happening. Even at our enterprise,” said Yuri Korzun.
After the action, Yuri’s gate pass was blocked, which is why it is now impossible for him to get to work, although the miner did not receive “orders for punishment or firing.” He decided to join the miners’ strike that began on 17 August. Previously, he could not do this, because he contracted the coronavirus and was first on sick leave, and then on vacation.
Yuri Korzun is a good singer. He is the official performer of the anthem of Belaruskali.
“I warned the leader to find a substitute for me, because I am joining the strike. Other people joined the strike as well. I believe that the strike should be developed and given legal status. If all of us on strike are fired from the factory, it will be difficult to go out and hold protest actions. I intend to fight for the right to freedom without giving up halfway through. It will be a movement until victory,” the miner said.
He expressed the hope that other labor collectives will hear the call and will support the protesters. In his opinion, dialogue between the government and the people is possible only under pressure from the workers.
“On 17-18 August, when labor teams came out to the streets and showed that they were supporting protest, almost all violence in the country stopped. Later on, when everyone returned to the workplaces, the violence began to return again. People are probably no longer maimed, raped with batons or killed. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of arrests and convicts. Violence continues. I believe that only labor force can redress the situation and lead it to a dialogue between the authorities and the people,” said Yuri Korzun.