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1,500 Women Protest Poverty As Belarus’ Living Standards Fall

More than 1,500 women banged on empty saucepans and marched through a snowstorm in the Belarusian capital Saturday to protest the decline in living standards in the former Soviet republic.

The women later rallied at Minsk’s central amusement park and delivered a letter to President Alexander Lukashenko’s office, demanding his resignation.

“We are tired of poverty. We are tired of constantly worrying over our children’s future,” said Maria Alieva, deputy head of the Working Women’s Organization, which organized the demonstration.

Prices for basic products have risen sharply in Belarus since last fall, when Lukashenko won a constitutional referendum that gave him wide-ranging powers.

Salaries for government employees have remained low, market reforms are at a standstill and some local authorities have imposed restrictions on the sale of bread to prevent shortages.

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