Europe

Thousands rally in Belarus to protest unpopular labor law

  • People shout slogans at a rally in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Wednesday's march in the capital Minsk and smaller rallies at several other Belarusian cities were the latest in a series of demonstrations against the law that obliges citizens to pay the equivalent of $250 if they work less than half the year and do not register with state labor exchanges. Banner on the left reads "Police, go over to the side of the people. The people will not offend you" and the red banner on the right "The Constitution of the Republic of Belarus - which is violated by the president, the guarantor of the constitution". (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    People shout slogans at a rally in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Wednesday's march in the capital Minsk and smaller rallies at several other Belarusian cities were the latest in a series of demonstrations against the law that obliges citizens to pay the equivalent of $250 if they work less than half the year and do not register with state labor exchanges. Banner on the left reads "Police, go over to the side of the people. The people will not offend you" and the red banner on the right "The Constitution of the Republic of Belarus - which is violated by the president, the guarantor of the constitution". (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)  (The Associated Press)

  • People shout slogans at a rally in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Wednesday's march in the capital Minsk and smaller rallies at several other Belarusian cities were the latest in a series of demonstrations against the law that obliges citizens to pay the equivalent of $250 if they work less than half the year and do not register with state labor exchanges. Banner in the background reads "Police, go over to the side of the people. The people will not offend you." (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    People shout slogans at a rally in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Wednesday's march in the capital Minsk and smaller rallies at several other Belarusian cities were the latest in a series of demonstrations against the law that obliges citizens to pay the equivalent of $250 if they work less than half the year and do not register with state labor exchanges. Banner in the background reads "Police, go over to the side of the people. The people will not offend you." (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)  (The Associated Press)

  • A protestor holds overturned portrait of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during a rally in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Wednesday's march in the capital Minsk and smaller rallies at several other Belarusian cities were the latest in a series of demonstrations against the law that obliges citizens to pay the equivalent of $250 if they work less than half the year and do not register with state labor exchanges. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    A protestor holds overturned portrait of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during a rally in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Wednesday's march in the capital Minsk and smaller rallies at several other Belarusian cities were the latest in a series of demonstrations against the law that obliges citizens to pay the equivalent of $250 if they work less than half the year and do not register with state labor exchanges. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)  (The Associated Press)

Several thousand Belarusians are rallying to protest an unpopular labor law.

Wednesday's march in the capital Minsk and smaller rallies at several other Belarusian cities were the latest in a series of demonstrations against the law that obliges citizens to pay the equivalent of $250 if they work less than half the year and do not register with state labor exchanges.

Ealier this month, Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko suspended collection of the fee — an unprecedented step back for the authoritarian leader who has ruled the 10-million nation with an iron hand since 1994. Lukashenko's move has failed to end the protests, which include calls for his resignation.

The law has dealt a painful blow to Belarusians amid a two-year recession.