Belarus shifts crackdown tactics, detains strike leader

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Belarus’ authorities have detained a factory strike organizer and a leading opposition actitivst. That is part of a methodical effort to end weeks of protests demanding the resignation of the country’s authoritarian leader after a vote that the opposition says was rigged. President Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus with an iron hand for 26 years, has dismissed the protesters as Western puppets and rejected the European Union’s offers of mediation. Anatoly Bokun, who leads the strike committee at Belaruskali and was detained Monday, is facing a 15-day jail sentence. The factory that accounts for a fifth of the world’s potash fertilizer output is the nation’s top cash earner.