On December 17 a constitutive meeting of the new public association “Association of Belarusian Pensioners” was planned. 15 days before the meeting an application was submitted to Minsk city executive committee. The following possible conference halls were indicated there: House of Culture “Sukno”, the Republican House of Culture of Veterans, Minsk International educational Center. The applicant was not categorical in the choice of premises. However, because of many “festive meetings connected to the New Year and Christmas celebration, and previously made applications”, the Minsk city executive committee denied holding a constitutive meeting. However, as it turned out later, these building were not used and stood empty on December 17-18.
The leaders of the “Young Front”, a political prisoner Paval Sevyarynets was heading from Vitsebsk to a village of Malae Sitna, Vitsebsk region, where he is serving the sentence. A car got to a road ditch and turned over.
An activist of the “Free Belarus” Alesia Yasiuk was detained before the Day of Solidarity. Policemen detained her for handing out leaflets about this action. The woman was taken to a police department, where 400 leaflets were confiscated. After that with the authorisation of the procurator a home search was carried out in her place.
16th of December approximately 80 activists lighted torches in solidarity with the opposition in Belarus. The campaign was held outside the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. This was only the first of a series of actions. The 16th action it brought to Norway by young liberals of Norway and the Christian democratic youth.
Like in Barysau, Baranavichy, Svetlahorsk and Vitsebsk, on the Day of Solidarity on December 16 street actions were also held in two more towns, Salihorsk and Zhodzina. In Salihorsk in the center of town 50 people came with lit candles. Among them were representatives of political parties, public associations and the resistance movement “Zubr”. In Zhodzina several dozens of activists of the “Young Front” gathered in the central square.
“Freedom to Mikhail Marynich!”, “Reinstate Tatsyana Khoma in University!”, “Stop repressions against Mikita Sasim!” These were the slogans of the actions of Solidarity with Belarus in the center of Bonn, organized by the human rights organization “Amnesty International”.
On December 16, over two dozen students and professionals showed their solidarity with the citizens of Belarus, remembering those who have disappeared and been imprisoned under Lukashenka`s dictatorship. Lining up across the street from the Belarusian Embassy, participants demonstrated for seven hours, from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm. They waved flags, lit candles, held posters in Belarusian, Russian, English, Polish, and French, and distributed nearly 200 fliers to pedestrians walking by on New Hampshire Avenue, a main road to the Dupont Circle metro station. In an international show of support, about half of the participants were Americans, and the other half were Belarusian and other nationalities.
Russia will soon launch the process for the coordination and accreditation of its new ambassador to Belarus, a source from the Russian Foreign ministry told Interfax on Monday. "According to the rules of procedure the Russian State Duma gives its consent to appoint a diplomat, then Russia sends its agreement," the source said, adding that "the two sides had no problems with the new Russian proposal, former governor of the Altai region Alexander Surikov." "I hope that the new ambassador will assume office early in the new year," the source said.
The Central election Committee of Belarus expects about 700-800 international observers at the presidential elections, which will be held on March 19 next year. “I think that there will be 700-800 of them, like it was at the presidential elections in 2001 and the republican referendum in 2004,” Lidziya Yarmoshyna said on Monday. She believes that “disproportionately great number” of international observers, as it were at the presidential elections in Ukraine, “does not work for the good of the election process, but raises difficulties, turning it into a political issue”.
Tatsyana Khoma, a student expelled from the Belarusian State Economic University, continues her struggle for the right to study in her university. She had been warned in the deanery that the only variant of reinstatement is paid education. Tatsyana does not have enough money, that is why most likely she is to study by correspondence, the Nasha Niva wrote.
On December 16 in Katowice, Poland the 24th anniversary of the execution of Polish miners was celebrated. After introduction of martial law they started a strike. Policemen with the help of tanks tried to stop their protest, however the resistance of the miners was determined. After sometime the shots were heard, and 9 miners were killed.
On December 17 the leader of the civil initiative “Partnerstva” Mikola Astrejka was taken to a special detention center in Akrestsyn Street. On October 29 he was detained by riot policemen at the constitutive meeting together with 70 colleagues. The court of Maskouski district of Minsk sentenced him to 15 days of arrest. His assistants, Enira Branitskaya and Alyaksandr Bondarau. Later Mikola Astrejka was transferred from the remand prison to a hospital by an ambulance car.
Russia and Belarus have agreed on the terms of supplies of Russian natural gas to Belarus next year. Belarus will import a total of 21 billion cubic meters of gas for 46.68 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters, Belarussian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky said Monday after a meeting of the Union State’s Council of Ministers. Russia’s Gazprom and Belarussian Beltransgaz company have been instructed to draft and formalize this agreement.