The All-Belarusian Intelligentsia Assembly was held on March 16 in Minsk in the “Sukno” Palace of culture. The delegates (approximately 800 people from throughout the country) determined to discuss political, economic and cultural situation in Belarus. The forum attracted such prominent representatives of the Belarusian intelligentsia as Nil Gilevich, Gennadz Buravkin, Anatoly Vertinsky, Sergei Zakonnikov, Ales Marochkin, Zinaida Bondarenko, Vladimir Orlov, Vladimir Kolas, Lyavon Volsky and many others.
Unfortunately, we are unable to join you at this forum of the Belarusian intelligentsia. However, though kept under lock, we feel unity with all of you anyway, for the problems, which need our solution, are crucial for the Belarusian nation and statehood. We are convinced that you will pass the decision, which will contribute to the consolidation of all country’s democratic forces, strengthening of independence and democracy of Belarus.
On March 12 many Belarusian towns witnessed massive actions of protest against the deteriorating standards of living, unstoppable growth of public utilities tariffs, administrative crackdown on the entrepreneurial activies. In Minsk the protest was expressed by the participants of the People’s March “For Better Life!” and entrepreneurial strikes. Despite the peaceful character of the Minsk action and its social goals, the organizers of the March Gryaznova, Bondarenko, Malakhov and Sannikov were sentenced to the longest arrest terms possible, as envisaged by the undemocratic Belarusian legislatgion. The danger of arrest now faces other March’s dissenters.
On March 15 night the unknown burglars broke into the apartment, where the ZUBR press-center sits. The evildoers managed to penetrate into the apartment, located on the first floor through the window and the metal grid. They stole away a computer system bloc, where the movement’s database was stored. Now the work of the ZUBR press-center is partially paralyzed. That was probably the criminals’ main target. Nothing else was touched. The movement’s leaders associate this break-in with the intensified activism of ZUBR and their participation in the People’s March “For Better Life!”.
The All-Belarusian Committee for celebrating the 85th anniversary of the Belarusian People’s Republic is now headed by Vasil Bykov, BelaPAN was told by deputy chairman of the BPR Council Sergei Naumchik. The Belarusian community will mark their 85th anniversary since the formation of BPR in some of the countries of the world. The events will take place in New York, Paris, London, Warsaw, Canada and Australia.
On March 16, 2003 the Striking committee of the Belarusian entrepreneurs announced the new action of entrepreneurial protest: “Mission Trip to “Parliament”. On April 1, 2003 representatives of entrepreneurs of all various Belarusian districts intend to visit the National Assembly building on 10a.m. and the Cabinet’s headquarters.
The Central Electoral Committee of Belarus proposes to reward the law-enforcement officers, who ensured public order at the recent local elections. Concomitant letter, signed by the chairman of the Central Electoral Committee was forwarded to the Interior Ministry, reports “Russkoye Radio”. According to the CEC secretary Nikolai Lozovok, the elections were held without any incidents, while during the early voting stage the law-enforcers guarded the polling stations even at nights, so that the documentation would not be stolen.
Alexander Lukashenko strongly criticized the US measures, applied against Iraq. Speaking on Friday before the students of the Belarusian State University, he underscored that “America tries to convince the whole world that Iraq is the strongest chain in the “axis of evil”, that Saddam Hussein’s regime is evil and the Iraq is crammed with the weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, he said, “everyone realizes the true motives behind their actions – oil”. Today the whole world understands that and billions of people worldwide speak in favor of Iraq,” – said Lukashenko, adding though that this will hardly restrain the US war plans.
Deputy chairman of the BPF Party Yuri Khodyko was arrested March 17 morning right at his house and was delivered to the Sovietsky district police station of Minsk. The law-enforcers claim that they will try him at the Sovietsky court of Minsk. Supposedly, the man was captured for his involvement in the March 12 action.