Dressed in civil police officers were having specific fun while dispersing peaceful action of solidarity in Minsk. According to participants of the action policemen who were pushing them out of the square spoke German (!). “Ja, ja, schnell, schnell” - shouted young guys while kicking backs of protesters. When people started chanting “fascists!”, policemen replied “Jawohl, natuerlich” and continued their “job”.
“On February 16th, pay attention to the signs of weakness in the last dictatorship in Europe. Look for tens of thousands of Belarusians lighting candles and wearing denim in an assertion of their rights to express their opposition to the current regime in that country,” writes Celeste A. Wallander, Director and Senior Fellow of Russia and Eurasia Program of the American Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in a commentary at the site http://www.csis.org called “Candles, Denim, and the 16th of February. Political Contestation Develops in Belarus with a Month to Go before the Presidential Elections”.
The central election commission has denied permission for the leaders of opposition political parties to attend the commission`s February 17 meeting at which it is to announce who of the four presidential contenders have been granted access to the ballot.
On February 16 the Day of Solidarity is held in Belarus and all over the world for the fifth time. At 8 p.m. thousands of Belarusians are to light candles of Freedom in their windows, thousands and thousands of people all over the world will express solidarity with Belarus fighting for freedom. On February 16 many of us can make one more step to Freedom – to gather in the square with lit candles, -- in this way the organizers of the Days of Solidarity addressed the Belarusians. “February 16, 6 p.m., Minsk, October Square. Simply come and light a candle of Freedom!” they said in an address. The Charter’97 press center will cover the events in the center of Minsk. Stay with us! We also call upon everybody who will take part in the Day of Solidarity, to send pictures of candles in your windows, and actions of solidarity in Belarusian towns and all over the world, to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org . The pictures will be published on our site. Let’s see that we are many!
Schoolchildren in Vitsebsk were ordered to make Valentine’s cards for Alyaksandr Lukashenka and his entourage. Some schools have received lists of persons to whom pupils were to address paper hearts. In other educational institutions children were told to make Valentine’s cards in colours of the state flag, and write “For Belarus!” on them, the Deutsche Welle informs.
More than 150 Belarusian members of the human rights organization Amnesty International will take aprt in the actions of solidarity on February 16. Activists from Baranavichy, Babrujsk, Brest, Vitsebsk, Homel, Hrodna, Minsk, Petrykau, Pinsk, Smarhon and Turau announced that they are to participate.
On the Day of Solidarity a well-known Russian writer and journalist Viktor Shenderovich has called upon the Belarusians to win Democracy and Freedom for their country. “The most important things are very simple things. Bread, love… Freedom. And there are times when one must struggle for it. Both yours and our country have such a period now. Such epoch started earlier in your country, so you should stop living in an airless tiny room of petty tyranny earlier,” told Viktor Shenderovich to the Chater’97 press center.
As Radio Svaboda reports, political prisoner, European Coalition leader Mikola Statkievich was transferred to a special confenement place after home arrest, which was explained by “harsh criminal situation” in Baranovichy.
The Belarusian Supreme Court refused to reconsider the sentence passed by the Minsk Region Court for Mikhail Marynich, according to which the former Minister and Ambassador is found guilty of theft and is sentenced to three and a half years of imprisonment. Later the sentence was reduced by one year within the amnesty. The Supreme Court replied there was no legal basis for the former decision abolition. The political prisoner’s wife Tatsiana Marynich, who had a short date with her husband in the colony yesterday, comments on the refusal:
Press photographers of the Associated Press, Reuters, ITAR-TASS, France Press and others won’t by able to attend the ceremony of registration of Belarusian candidates for presidency, which is to take pace on February 17 in the Palace of Republic in Minsk. Te press service of Alyaksandr Lukashenka said to journalists that only the official news agency BELTA will make pictures during the registration.
On February 15 in Berlin (Germany) the 9th European Police Congress “Safety management at large events” ended. A Belarusian delegation headed by deputy minister of the Interior of Belarus Alyaksandr Shchurko has taken part in the congress.
Aleksandr Milinkevich, the presidential nominee of Belarus’ united opposition forces, will present his election platform at a meeting at the head office of Russia’s Union of Right Forces (SPS) in Moscow on February 16, said the press office of Belarus’ opposition United Civic Party (UCP).
Belarus` independent monitors stressed nearly complete lack of opposition representatives on precinct election commissions in their report covering the period from January 21 to February 10 in the country`s presidential race.
The Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht, has appointed US Congressman Alcee Hastings, president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, as his Special Coordinator for the OSCE election observation missions for Belarus’ presidential election and Ukraine’s parliamentary elections scheduled for March 19 and March 26, respectively.
The Belarusian foreign ministry expressed concern about Taiwan’s plans to scrap the process of unification with mainland China. In a speech in late January, Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian suggested dissolving Taiwan`s National Unification Council and scrapping the guidelines it has established for eventual reunification with the mainland.
On February 16 in Belarus and abroad the Day of Solidarity is marked for the fifth time. At 8 p.m. hundreds thousands Belarusians would lit candles of Freedom in their windows, thousands and thousands of people all over the world are to express solidarity with a Belarus working for a just cause. On February 16 many of us can make one more step to Freedom – to gather in the square with lit candles, -- in this way the organizers of the Days of Solidarity addressed the Belarusians. “February 16, 6 p.m., Minsk, October Square. Simply come and light a candle of Freedom!” they said in an address published at the site www.solidarity16.org.
At 9:30am this morning, The Project on Transitional Democracies announced a bid for the shares of RosUkrEnergo held by Ukrainian investors. RosUkrEnergo is a Swiss-based joint venture between Ukraine and Russia which on January 4, 2006 signed an agreement with GAZPROM and the Government of Ukraine to supply Ukraine with gas on a temporary basis and to lease Ukrainian gas storage and pipelines through 2030.
As head of the Minsk Executive Committee landing and geodesic department Aliaxandar Karobka said February 15, at a press conference in the city administration, the Minsk Executive Committee is to make inventory of land lots in the city.