Radio Svaboda dialed the cellular phone of one of the Protest March “Can’t Live Like That Anymore!” organizers Dmitry Bondarenko, detained during the action. At the moment the man is held in the Sovietsky police station of Minsk and agreed to give us his commentary on what’s going on there these minutes.
The International League for Human Rights and its executive director Cathy Fitzpatrick passed a statement of protest against the beating and arrest of over 100 participants of the Protest March. Following read its full text: new photos
Detainees (over a hundred people) are placed in the Sovietsky police station of Minsk (phone 232-02-02). The list doesn’t include some underage and those, held in separate cells. It seems like those under legal age will be set free soon. Others will most likely spend their weekend in the Okrestina detention center. Monday will see the start of trials over the social action’s protesters, dispersed today by police.
Over a hundred were arrested and beaten up by POLICE in central Minsk during the social action “Can’t Live Like That Anymore!”. Among the VICTIMS – WORLD-KNOWN FILMMAKER Yuri Khaschevatsky, professor Mikola Savitsky, journalist Valery Schukin, Charter’97 journalist Natalya Radina. The latter reports from the Sovietsky police station that 102 protesters are still being beaten by police in custody. Two people were carried away on ambulance with broken ribs and brain concussion.
Kuropaty memorial defender Ales Poklad, hospitalized this night after the unknown set on fire the tent, where the volunteers slept, is currently placed in the intensive care with heavy scolds – 15% of his skin is burnt. The young man urgently needs blood transfusion and the ambulance medics call on his relatives to urgently donate blood for the purpose.
An article under such heading appeared yesterday in the Berlin newspaper “Die Tageszeitung”. The newspaper writes that the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko, seeking to rid himself of the OSCE observers’ presence, is gradually progressing in his aspirations. Recently, they almost beheaded the OSCE mission in Minsk by denying prolongation of visa to the acting OSCE chair Michele Rivalier. Therefore, writes “Die Tageszeitung”, a series of verbal abuses and threats against the European structures by the Belarusian regime continues.
“Belarus is in a way a “political museum”, - said head of the Czech government Milos Zeman during his April 18 visit to Belarus. One of the elements of this museum, he said, is the existence of two budgets in the country – a public one and a private presidential. Zeman deems that the situation in Belarus is unsettling and may end in a social explosion.
In January-February 2002 the number of Belarusian companies operating at a loss rose to 47,5%, while the profitability level fell to 5%, BDG quotes expert of the Institute of privatization and management Elena Rakova as saying.
For today the banks of Belarus have already given credits for 13.5 billion roubles to the agricultural enterprises for carrying out spring sowing campaign. It was reported on April 17 at the press conference in Minsk by the chairman of the direction of the National Bank Poitr Prakapovich.
Dutch affiliate of the Belarusian center in Belgium will hold on April 19 in the Hague a picket in support of the Protest March “CAN’T LIVE LIKE THAT ANYMORE!”, which starts tonight at 6 o’clock from the Yakub Kolas square of Minsk. Remarkably, the picket will take place in the city where the famous Hague tribunal is based. The tribunal specializes on dictatorships, war criminals and crimes against humanity.
This night the unidentified evildoers poured gasoline and set on fire the tent, where the three volunteers – defenders of the Kurapaty memorial – slept. Two young men managed to wake up and, suffocating from smoke, crawled out of the tent. However, their fellow didn’t escape the fire. Now the young man is awaiting surgery in the intensive care, having received skin burs of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree.
The Protest March “Can’t Live Like That Anymore!” is to take place today, on April 19, in Minsk. The action is to start at the Yakub Kolas Square at 6 p.m. The Protest March is held in order to attract attention to the problem of the pre-election promises by a presidential candidate Lukashenka that have not been ulfilled. The irganizers of the action are film director Yuri Khaschavatsky, human rights watchdogs Valery Schukin and Dzmitser Bandarenka, journalist Mikalai Khalezin, and ZUBR activist Tsimafei Dranchuk.
Belarusian authorities refused entry visa to the new special representative of the OSCE Eberhard Heiken. According to the spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry Pavel Latushka, Heiken was not allowed to the country, as his appointment was not agreed with the Belarusian government, informs “Gazeta.ru” with reference to Reuters.
The agreement between the government of the Republic of Belarus and the government of the Republic of Iraq on air communications was ratified on April 17 by the so-called “chamber of representatives” of Belarus. As the “MPs” were informed by the chairman of the State committee on air force Fiodar Ivanou, the document was signed in April 2001 in Baghdad.
Last spring the communist party came to power in Moldova. Its representatives won the majority – 70 seats – in the parliament, while the party boss Vladimir Voronin became a president. The year, during which they’ve being staying in power, allows to predict further situation development in Moldova. Since the moment of his coming to power Vladimir Voronin had numerously tried to make clear his sympathy toward the so-called “Belarusian variant”.
It was stated by an expert of the international human rights defending organization ARTICLE 19 (London, Great Britain) Federica Prina at the session of the press club of the Belarusian Association of Journalists. As Mrs. Prina informed, on the BAJ request experts of the ARTICLE 19 have made a juridical examination of the bill “On Mass Media”, “On Informational Security Ensuring” and of regulations of the Criminal Code concerning freedom of speech. “The main concern is evoked by the attempt of the Belarusian authorities to establish harsh control over information, while commonly accepted standards of freedom of speech guarantee minimum of such limitations. At the same time, Belarus has signed and ratified International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, that assure the right for freedom of information, which is guaranteed by the Constitution of Belarus”, - Mrs. Prina said.
At the meeting of Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov the Belarusian leader could not but mount his hobbyhorse. Lukashenka for one more time reproved his Russian and Belarussian ill-wishers. “They us for our cooperation in the sphere of defense”, he said, and added: “Only a stupid man could disregard cooperation in the sphere of security of our two states”.
In Belarusian economy a number of negative tendencies have formed. They do not contribute to reinforcement of the Belarusian rouble. It was said at the press conference in Minsk by the chairman of the National Bank of Belarus Piotr Prakapovich.
Over the first quarter of the year the foreign assets of Belarus fell by almost $30mln in size: from 229mln rubles on January 1 to 200mln on April 1, said the chair of the National Bank’s board Petr Prokopovich at the press-conference in Minsk.
Alexander Lukashenko ordered the country’s Prime Minister Gennady Novitsky to intensify preparations to setting up the Belarusian-Russian joint venture on coal-mining in the Kemerovo region of Russia. The president press-service reports that during his Wednesday meeting with the Premier Alexander Lukashenko said that “Belarus’ concrete proposals to the Kemerovo residents” must be ready by mid-May this year. Formation of the joint venture will enable Belarus to annually purchase around 300 thousand tons of coal at prices, which are twice lower than the current ones.
Employees of the radiation service Radon of Russia found at the Dorogomilovsky market of Moscow 5 kilos of dry mushrooms, whose radioactivity level exceeded the norm by 20 times. The inspection revealed that the mushrooms contained radioactive cesium, which is easily consumed and engulfed by the muscular tissues. Accumulation of cesium-137 may provoke all sorts of plagues in the human body.