Preventive arrests of a number of oppositionists are planned on the eve of the presidential elections. The special services have a list of persons subject to isolation under any pretexts, has stated the coordinator of the civil initiative Charter’97 Andre Sannikov today. “From a total lawlessness the regime has passed on to terroristic methods, taking hostages, demanding to abandon their active citizenship in exchange for release. No matter how the authorities would be trying to justify criminal orders, false testimony and farces in courts, all the malefactors are to be subject to punishment inevitably,” told the human rights activist. The full text of the statement by Andrei Sannikov follows:
The Belarusians of the USA light candles in their houses on the 16th day of each month, on the Day of Solidarity. Manifestations are held in front of the Belarusian Embassy in Washington, many people organize public actions in other American cities. Today we have received a letter from California written by our reader, Belarusian Alesia Floro. “The time difference between Belarus and California (the USA) is 14 hours. Looking through articles and pictures on the Internet I learned about the solidarity actions held in Europe and decided to hold a similar action in our small town of Boulder Creek, California”, - Alesia writes in her letter.
On February 16 in the capital of Norway, Oslo, an action of solidarity with Belarusian political prisoners was held. The action took place in the center of the city on the square in front of the parliament. Deputies of the Norwegian parliament, Norwegian students and activists of the non-governmental organizations, Belarusian human rights activists have taken part in the rally.
On February 16 in the framework of the Day of Belarusian Solidarity, an action was held. It has attracted attention of many Prague dwellers and its visitors. On the central Old Town Square, one of the most beautiful and busy parts of Golden Prague, Belarusian community members and other people, Czech journalists gathered.
On February 16 in the capital of Latvia a march was carried out. 10 Latvian non-governmental organizations have taken part in the march. At 8 p.m. participants of the action came up to the Belarusian Embassy in Riga and lit candles, expressing their solidarity with Belarusian freedom fighters.
About 20 people, “Zubr” activists most of them, ranged themselves in lines in the center of Mogilev to pay the tribute to memory of everyone who went missing or was incarcerated on a background of political crime, as well as with everyone struggling for Freedom and Democracy in Belarus.
On 16 Februari, several Amnesty International groups, supported by the dutch trade union, have demonstrated their support for the victims of the human rights situation in Belarus. As the Belarus government is building a new library in Minsk, the groups took the opportunity to offer the Belarus people, via the embassy in The Hague, information on the current violations of human rights in their country ¦ the lack of freedom of expression, the problems with freedom of association, and the obstructed right to free and fair elections, among others.
February 16, on the Solidarity Day a Minsk club hosted an action of the “Free Theater”. The programme of the action included the performance “Breathing technique in air free space”, play “They had dreams” and the concert of the band “Tavarysh Mauzer”.
Activists of the Young Front Pavel Fihuryn and Barys Haretski, detained yesterday in Minsk during the peaceful action of solidarity, have been sentenced to 10 days of arrest each by the court of Tsentralny district of Minsk. Judge Alyaksei Bychko turned a blind eye to untruthful evidence of riot policemen and found the Young Front activists guilty of hooliganism (Article 156 of the Administrative Code).
Today the political prisoner, a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the 13th convocation Andrei Klimau, was unexpectedly transferred from the town of Krupki (Minsk region) to Homel region to serve the sentence there.
One of the leaders of the Zubr resistance movement “Zubr” Aleh Myatselitsa has been sentenced to 15 days of arrest. Judge Alla Iharauna Dzeminskaya found Myatselitsa guilty of violation of the Article 156 of the Administrative Code (petty hooliganism) despite of the fact the witnesses, policemen of Paryzanski district of Minsk A.S.Bakhar and A.P.yarashevich could not even say where he was detained.
On February 16 in dozens of cities in Poland demonstrations of solidarity with Belarus fighting for its freedom and democracy have taken place. Participants of the action have called upon the Belarusian authorities to carry out free and transparent presidential elections on March 19.
The Belarusian Central Election Committee has registered as a candidate for presidency, a leader of the democratic forces of Belarus Alyaksandr Milinkevich. On the square in front of the Palace of Republic, where the registration is taking place, his supporters are waiting for him. Follow our updates.
The European Union says it is concerned about what it calls persistent human rights abuses in Belarus. Speaking today at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Austrian State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Hans Winkler said he predicts that next month`s elections will not bring about a "sweeping change." Austria holds the current EU presidency. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is standing for a third term in the 19 March elections. EU foreign ministers said on 30 January that they are ready to impose sanctions on Belarus if the vote is seen as being rigged.
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.
Belarus` main opposition presidential candidate said Thursday that next month`s presidential election will not be democratic and he urged Russia to drop what he called its shortsighted policy of support for the nation`s authoritarian leader.
February 16, Leader of the Ukrainian Civil Block “PORA-PRP”, world champion in boxing Vitaliy Klichko made a statement on solidarity with the Belarusian democratic forces and protested against mass detentions of the Belarusian youth before the Presidential election. “Today, on February 16, 2006, I add my voice to the voices of hundreds and thousands of people all over the world who call for freedom and democracy in your country, in brotherly Belarus”, - this is said in Vitaliy Klichko’s statement which was sent to the Charter 97 press-center. “I also call upon the Belarusian state power to halt mass detentions of the young members of opposition movements, Belarusian residents who have the right for their own point of view, right for their own choice. Such measures discredit the power, since an unfair victory costs little”, - V.Klichko states.
Here goes the entire statement:
This is the 4th ”Day of Belarusian-Lithuanian solidarity” action held in Vilnius. This time the action took place together with the Lithuanian Independence Day. The day of February 16 has the same value for the Lithuanians as March 25, the Day of Will, - for the Belarusians.
Today in the morning at about 7 a.m. on the road from Vaukavysk five members of Alyaksandr Milinkevich’s initiative group were detained. They were heading for Minsk to take part in the ceremony of registration of candidates for presidency.
“Honestly speaking, I have not thought that the authorities are so afraid of us. I had a feeling that the number of policemen the center of the city in the evening of February 16 was equal to those during Freedom Marches once, though we haven’t had flags, slogans with us, we were not going to come to presidential residence. We gathered simply to stand with candles to remember those who had been repressed or abducted. However, as it turned out, the notion of solidarity itself, this word alone, causes panic and completely hysterical reaction of the authorities,” told a well-known journalist Iryna Khalip, commenting on the yesterday disbanding of a peaceful action in the center of Minsk to the Charter’97 press center.
The leader of the youth movement Zubr Aleh Myatselitsa and two activists of the Young Front Aleh Korban and Barys Haretski detained yesterday during disbanding of a peaceful rally in the center of Minsk, passed the night in Minsk police departments. Aleh Myatselitsa was placed to a police department of Partyzanski district, the Young Front activists were placed to a police department of Tsentralny district. Today the activists of the youth movements are to be tried.
The Day of Solidarity with political prisoners, disappeared oppositionists and their families, independent journalists, with all who struggle for liberty and democracy, was held in Belarus on February 16. At 8 p.m. the light was switched off in the windows of hundreds of thousands of the Belarusians, and candles of freedom where lit. Hundreds of them gathered in the streets on this day. 200 people lined up on October Square in Minsk. They held burning candles in their hands, they had jeans ribbons, which has become a symbol of freedom in Belarus. The protest caused a panic of the authorities. Hundreds of policemen were sent against peaceful protesters. However, the whole world and the Belarusians themselves have understood, the time has come to fight for freedom.