“Belarusians who took to the streets have always aroused my admiration. Actions on the Day of Solidarity are peaceful ones; they are highly moral and inspire great respect. A candle has always been a symbol of resistance. Neither in Prague in 1968, nor in Warsaw in 1981 authorities ventured to lay hands on a person with a candle. I saw how flowers and candles prevented violence during Orange Revolution in Kyiv,” told in an interview to the Charter’97 press center former head of the NTV news office in Belarus Pavel Selin, deported in 2003 from Belarus for his bold and objective reporting.
An activist of the youth resistance movement Zubr, Maryna Tsvyatkova, a second-year student, has been expelled from Arkadz Kulyashou Mahilyou State University, where she studied in the journalism department of Slavonic philology.
Youth resistance movement Zubr and the Young Front have made a joint statement expressing protest in connection with tightening of repressions against Belarusian youth, and called upon everybody who wants to see Belarus free and democratic, to come to October Square in Minsk on February 16 at 6 p.m. to light candles of Freedom together. “On February 16, the Day of Belarusian Solidarity, as usual, light would be switched off in the windows of thousands of Belarusians. Young people would put on jeans and attach jeans ribbons. All over the world under white-red-white flags a wave of solidarity with Belarus would roll. We call upon everyone who want to see Belarus free and democratic, to come to October Square in Minsk on February 16 at 6 p.m. to light candles of Freedom together with us,” the Zubr and the Young Front write.
On Tuesday the US Congress is to start consideration of the resolution with a demand to the leadership of Belarus to ensure free and fair elections. The resolution also expresses support to the endeavours of the people of Belarus to instate full democracy and respect of human rights. The voting on the document is to take place in the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives.
Representatives of the headquarters of the democratic candidate for presidency in Belarus, Alyaksandr Milinkevich, believe that the demand of Minsk city executive committee to receive permissions for holding agitation meetings of candidates for presidency, illegal. “It contradicts the Electoral Code. According to the law, no permissions are needed for meetings with voters. The Electoral Code stipulates that meetings with voters are held in any form convenient for voters. Election campaigning cannot be limited. Our headquarters are not going to pay attention to these illegal requirements of Minsk city executive committee. We shall act in line with the Electoral Code,” told Syarhei Kalyakin, Milinkevich’s HQ leader, to the Charter’97.
Minsk executive committee adopted a list of places where agitation of candidates for presidency. More than 20 parks, squares, mostly in remote parts of the city, are entered in the list. However, to use these places, candidates and their teams are to address for permission, the Radio Svaboda was told by a representative of the law department of Minsk city executive committee Viktar Balashou.
Mass arrest of Zubr youth resistance activists took place yesterday evening in the capital of Belarus. Riot policemen seized 22 activists. Today Zubr coordinator Yauhen Afnagel was sentenced to 15 days of arrest. Activists call mass detentions and the arrest of one of their leaders a “clean-up operation connected to the Day of Solidarity on February 16 and stepping up of activism of young people who oppose the third term of Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Now graffiti, streamers, leaflets, sticker with slogans “Fed Up With Him!” and “We Want a New One!” have appeared in dozens of Belarusian cities.
Police in Lida, Grodno region, seized 1,200 copies of the newspaper Narodnaya Volya from associates of opposition presidential candidate Aleksandr Milinkevich. Officers stopped the vehicle, in which three activists were traveling, near the city of Lida at about 7.30p.m, Vintsuk Vyachorka, leader of the Belarusian Popular Front, told BelaPAN.
A district judge in Mosty, Grodno region, has imposed a fine of 290,000 rubels (($135) on a local opposition youth activist who distributed small calendars featuring Aleksandr Milinkevich, united opposition forces` presidential candidate.
Henryk Litwin may become Poland’s new ambassador to the Republic of Belarus. According to a source in the Polish embassy in Minsk, the Belarusian foreign ministry has already given its consent to his appointment.
On February 6 the Belarusian TV broadcast the first episode of Azaryonak’s film “Spiritual War”. The leader of the United Civil Party Anatol Lyabedzka addressed the Prosecutor’s Office of Belarus with a request to make an expert examination of the film relating Stalinism propaganda in it. According to the head of the National Committee, it is nothing but advertising of terror and violence. Such propaganda must be prosecuted by law.
February 13, on the Minsk-Grodna highway near Lida, road inspection officers detained a car with leader of democratic candidate Aliaxandar Milinkevich’s regional headquarters Anatol Khatsko, his deputy Siargey Malchyk and leader of the Grodna city headquarters Siargey Antusievich.
Court executors insist on pastor of the association “Belarusian Testament Church” («Áåëàðóñêàÿ Ýâàíãåëüñêàÿ öàðêâà») Ernst Sabila paying the court fee. The Protestant association was legally liquidated last August. The Minsk City Executive Committee initiated the trial, but the fee is to be paid by the pastor.
R. Nicholas Burns, the State Department’s under secretary for political affairs, met on February 10 in Washington with representatives of Belarusian civil society to discuss the state of democracy and human rights in Belarus as the country prepares for a presidential election in March, according to a statement released February 13 by the State Department.
On February 13 in Hrodna a search in an apartment belonging to the parents of deputy chairman of Hrodna headquarters of the leader of democratic forces Alyaksandr Milinkevich, Vadzim Saranchukou, was held. Policemen showed a decree of Vaukavysk prosecutor, who sanctioned a search, suspecting V. Saranchukou of participation in painting numerous graffiti emerged in the town on February 5 overnight. Policemen seized 7 cans of paint, belonging to Vadzim’s father, a painter who makes glass paintings.
Today in the first part of the day a trial over one of the leader of the young resistance movement Zubr, Yauhen Afnagel, is to take place. Completely groundlessly Yauhen Afnagel was charged with violating Article 156 (petty hooliganism). He spent a night in a special detention center in Akrestsyn Street. In case he would be found guilty, the Zubr coordiant would face up to 15 days of arrest.
Belarus’ tuberculosis situation remains serious as 17 percent more people were assigned to compulsory TB treatment in 2005 compared with the previous year, Viktor Rudenko, acting minister of health, said last week.