After a further demonstration of an estimated 100,000 peaceful protesters in the capital of Belarus on Sunday, the leader of the opposition called for a general strike to go ahead from Monday, October 26.

Stun grenades were fired at the protesters as the security forces ratchet up their reaction to weekly demonstrations calling for the resignation of Alexander Lukashenko, who stole the August 9 election by claiming 80 percent of the vote widely-believed to have been won by Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.

In a statement on social media, Mrs Tikhanovskaya said: “Today the regime has once again shown Belarusians that violence is the only thing it is capable of. Therefore tomorrow, October 26, a national strike will begin.”

Lukashenko has been hiding behind the pretence that western neighbours Poland and Lithuania have been plotting to invade the country. His administration has also claimed that demonstrators have planned violent attacks on security forces used to crack down on protests, when in fact all the violence has been perpetrated by the police and interior ministry personnel.

By Monday lunchtime it appeared that the strike call was proving more popular than many had feared.

FILE PHOTO: A poster of opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya