Participants of the meeting on October Square are reading poems of Maxim Bahdanovich and Yanka Kupala. Music of Blearusian rock groups is heard. National flags, flags of the EU and of the resistance movement Zubr are fluttering. People keep fetching warm clothing and food to the tent city. Everything is calm, and the mood of the people is festive.
A pan-European TV channel “EuroNews” incessantly broadcasts news from October Square of Minsk. In the reports from Minsk the question is repeated, whether “velvet revolution” would take place in Belarus. The TV channel notes that the presidential elections in Belarus were not recognized by the EU and the USA. “Only Moscow and Teheran have recognized the elections’ results,” the EuroNews notes.
It was said by the activists living in the tent camp. “We are staying here!” the young men scanned. The single candidate for presidency of the democratic forces Alyaksandr Milinkevich and his wife Inna Kulej said that they are staying on the square together with participants of the tent camp. There are 7 thousands of people of the square now.
About 5 thousand people are on the square now. People are arriving in big groups. Amplifying equipment is moved to the tent camp. Ambassadors of the countries of the European Union are walking on the square, talking to participants of the action.
The Charter’97 press center received information, that today officers of law-enforcing agencies are planning to destroy the tent camp and arrest most of the participants of the protest action on October Square. Policemen, riot policemen and SOBR officers are waiting for journalists with cameras to leave. Alyaksandr Milinkevich and Alyaksandr Kazulin would not be arrested on purpose to give an impression that that the number of their supporters is dwindling.
The Belarusian Embassy in Washington was picketed for the whole day on Monday. Participants of the action protested against rigged results of the elections. They were holding white-red-white flags, posters with portraits of political prisoners. Dwellers of Washington expressed their support and concern over the situation in Belarus. After the dark participants of the protest lit candles and called upon the cars passing by the Embassy to honk in support of democracy in Belarus.
The European Parliament has recognized the presidential elections in Belarus undemocratic, and called upon holding repeat elections, and by that supported demands of the Belarusian opposition. “Alyaksandr Lukashenka cannot be recognized a President,” the Polish press agency quotes the position of the European Parliament delegation, which representatives have not been allowed to monitor the elections in Belarus. The European Parliament delegation headed by MEP Bogdan Klich, notes that these elections were held in the atmosphere of fear and intimidation. The position of the delegation of the European Parliament is that citizens of Belarus have a right to choose a president according to really democratic principles, that is why repeat elections in the country should be held in the country consistent with all international standards.
The deputy of the European Parliament Jaroslaw Jagejllo was detained by KGB men in Minsk. As a reporter of the Belarusian Partisan internet source informs, the deputy of the Polish Sejm has a dinner with his colleagues in a café not far from October Square. He went out to a currency exchange and was immediately detained by KGB men. The details of the incident are verified.
Protest actions continued on October Square in Minsk during the day. Young people were scanning: “Freedom!”, “We want Truth!’, “Long live Belarus!” People of different age were coming to support the protesters. Many of them were bringing food, tea and warm clothes. All streets leading to the square were controlled by policemen. They checked bags of all passers-by, who approached the tent camp. Some of them were detained.
In the wake of Belarus` presidential election, which the opposition says was rigged in favour of President Alexander Lukashenko, critics of the government are struggling to spread the word about their protests.
Belarusian state-owned internet-provider Beltelecom, which has a monopoly for external internet gateway, has blocked the Charter’97 press center internet source (www.charter97.org). Unlike attacks against the Belarusian Internet on the elections day on March 19, communications experts together with special services were not trying to invent something original to block the information on the web, and simply “cut off” access to the Charter’97 site on the gateway.
On March 20 a filming crew of the Ukrainian TV Channel “Novyj Kanal” was detained on its way from Minsk to Kyiv at the border crossing Novaya Guta. As informed by the press service of the TV channel, four cassettes with footage have been seized from a journalist Mikhail Shamanov and cameraman Sergei Dakhiv “for further examination”, whether they comply with Belarusian laws. According to the information of the internet-newspaper “Ukrainskaya Pravda”, it was video recording of the oppositional meeting and a press conference of the democratic leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated the Belarusian dictator with “reelection for the post of Belarusian president”, the press service of the head of Russian President has informed. “Putin’s congratulations should be viewed as congratulations of the chairman of G8 addressed to the last dictator of Europe. These congratulations look especially cynical against the background of hundreds of politically motivated arrests, mass repressions unleashed in Belarus, threat to health and life of peaceful citizens, which are constantly uttered by Lukashenka and his inner circle in all state-run mass media. Putin should be understood in this way. He is not a president of the state interested in democratic development, but a friend and admirer of the last dictator of Europe, Such support cannot cause anything but indignation of the Belarusian nation. I would also add that the Public Chamber created by Putin has demonstrated its true face. I would like to remind that it had been the representatives of the Public Chamber who cast doubt on the results of OSCE observers’ monitoring, hinting that not observers, but “some forces hostile to Belarus” have made the conclusion. In fact, Putin and Rushailo’s (Rushailo – the head of the CIS observation mission) actions untie hands to the criminal regime of Lukashenka,” in this way the international coordinator of the Charter’97 press center, former deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Andrei Sannikov commented the actions of Russian president.
Demonstrators have pitched a 19th tent on Oktyabsrkaya Square in central Minsk determined to stay until authorities invalidate the last week`s election that gave Aleksandr Lukashenko a third presidential term.
"The United States does not accept the results of the election" in Belarus, Scott McClellan spokesman for the White House, said on March 20. He said the election campaign was conducted in a climate of fear, and included arrests, beatings and fraud.
Aleksandr Lukashenko, whom Belarus` central election commission declared the winner in Sunday`s presidential election, on March 20 thanked Vladimir Rushailo, head of the CIS election observation mission, for "an unbiased approach" to the election, said Mr. Lukashenko`s press office.
As the Belarusian Partisan internet source has just found out, two Estonian observers were detained near October Square. They have not received accreditation for observation and arrived to Belarus on tourist visas.
As the Charter’97 press center was told by human rights activist Uladzimir Labkovich, trials over peaceful protesters, who gathered on October square to protest against rigged results of presidential elections, are to be held in Leninski, Tsentraly, Partyzanski, Savetski district courts of Minsk. As said by the human rights activist, 110 people are detained. There is not enough judges to try such a number of people.
In the court of Tsentralny (Central) district of Minsk trials over people detained yesterday evening and yesterday night started. These people attempted to bring food and warm clothes to the people on the square. Riot policemen stopped everybody having big bags or thermoses near the square.
As the Charter’97 press center was informed in the human rights center “Viasna”, 108 persons are placed in the special remand prison in Akrestsyn Street in Minsk. They had been detained during protest actions in Minsk on March 20-21.
Last night prominent democratic activists – a Belarusian theatre director Valery Mazynski, a chairman of Minsk city organization of the Belarusian Popular Front Party Uladzimir Kishkurna and a civil activist Syarhei Lukin. The BelaPAN was informed about that by a human rights activist Leanarda Mukhina. As said by her, at about a midnight they went out of their homes to October Square to bring the people protesting against rigged results of presidential elections drinks and food, however, they didn’t come to the square. Supposedly they were detained by police. There whereabouts is unknown.
“We do not recognize the results of the presidential elections. It wasn’t elections, but an unconstitutional seizure of power carried out yesterday in Belarus. According to the law in force, citizen Lukashenka didn’t have a right to take part in the elections,” told the leader of the Belarusian democratic forces, the single democratic candidate for presidency Alyaksandr Milinkevich today at the press conference in Minsk. “Today at 6.30 p.m. we shall come to October Square in Minsk, to say that Lukashenka is illegitimate. The elections have taken place with gross violations, and we demand repeat elections!”
Dozens of thousands of Belarusians are gathering on October Square in Minsk for the second day. They protest against fraudulent results of the presidential elections. The whole world is watching the struggle of the people of Belarus. The Belarusians say that the presidential elections’ results are rigged. Repeat presidential election is to be held in the country. A tent camp was put up by the Trade Union Palace. People are going to stay on the square all night. They are to stay the whole day as well. The single democratic candidate for presidency Alyaksandr Milinkevich is to stay with them. The former rector of the Belarusian State University Alyaksandr Kazulin is there as well. Today a meeting of protest is to be held on October Square. Struggle goes on!
Sons of Alyaksandr Milinkevich have come to the square. Vitaut and Alyaxandr told that they were detained not far from the square and taken to one of the police department of the city. Policemen wanted to draw up a report against them for violation of the article 156 of the Administrative Code (petty hooliganism). However, when a police colonel has found out that the sons of Milinkevich were detained, he tore the report and took them to the square in a personal car.
Policemen do not allow the cars bringing food and mineral water to stop on the square. A policeman in mufti seized a bag with warm things and blankets from the hands of a person who went to the square.
Several thousand people remain standing on the square. About 20 tents are placed there. People are singing songs and playing guitars. National flags, flags of the European Union and Zubr are seen. People are chanting: “Long live Belarus!”, “Police is with the people!” There are several dozens of policemen in mufti on the square. They are serenely observing the scene and do not make a move.
The candidate of the democratic forces has informed about that himself. Alyaksandr and Vitaut called on the phone and said that they had been detained by policemen, but now they are released and are going to arrive to the square.
Alyaksandr Milinkevich and his wife have come to the tent camp fixed on the square. Now there are 15 tents on the square. The leader of the democratic forces shook by the hand each of the protesters and thanked them for their courage. People are scanning: “Milinkevich!”, “Long live Belarus!”