MINSK, June 14 (Reuters) - Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday he would “strike hard” against any further public protests in his country.
Lukashenko, whose authority in the ex-Soviet country has been damaged by an economic crisis that has led to the rouble being devalued and high inflation, spoke after a weekend protest by scores of people on the border with Poland which was broken up by police.
“They are organising strikes because we do not allow them to take fuel, cigarettes and other goods out of the country without charge,” he said, in comments reported by the state news agency BelTA.
“These are speculators ... I will look, watch and then I will strike hard so that they will not get a chance to defect abroad,” he said. (Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Richard Balmforth)