“On September 16 a concert was simply indispensable. Music is always positive, even in tragic moments. The most important thing is that music unites. Actions like the one held on September 16, should first of all unite. People should be united by music. We shouldn’t simply stand and look into the sky mournfully, should we? What’s the use of that? It would not help the disappeared people or the country, and the concert would help to consolidation of people,” told the soloist of Neuro Dubel band Alyaksandr Kulinkovich, commenting statements of some mass media that the action “Big Jeans Festival” to the Charter’97 press center held on September 16, on the anniversary of abductions of Belarusian opposition leaders Viktar Hanchar and Anatol Krasouski, was “inappropriate”.
Some Belarusian mass media announced that holding a concert during a rally “Big Jeans Festival” held on September 16, on the anniversary of abduction of Belarusian opposition leaders Viktar Hanchar and Anatol Krasouski, is “inappropriate”. “Concerts are a universal civilized tradition. All over the world concerts of solidarity are a civilized tradition. All over the world concerts of solidarity with political prisoners, victims of dictatorships, against wars are held. Viktar Hanchar and Anatol Krasouski are modern people who where wearing jeans. In case they hadn’t been abducted, they would be with us that evening,” the host of “Big Jeans Festival” Ales Burakou said.
On the Day of Belarusian Solidarity, September 16, public activists of Homel organized an action of informing people about the 7th anniversary of abduction of the well-known Belarusian political Viktar Hanchar and his friend, a businessman Anatol Krasouski. As we have informed, this large-scale crime hasn’t been solved yet. Activists pasted posters, which simultaneously emerged in different parts of the city.
On September 16, on the 7th anniversary of abduction of opposition leaders Viktar Hanchar and Anatol Krasouski, a rally in support of families of the abducted, political prisoners and all who fight for free Belarus. Members of youth organization “Pohliad”, of the civil association “We Remember”, of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, students from Belarus who had arrived to the US for studies, the Belarusians living in Washington and US citizens have taken part in the rally.
On September 16 in the evening in Orebro, Karlskoga and many other cities of Sweden, candles were lit in remembrance of abducted Belarusian politicians, and in support of democracy in Belarus. Members of the Belarusian Popular Front and the United Civil Party participated in the action together with their Swedish partners, the UCP press service informs.
In Estonian capital, Tallinn, in the Tammsaare Park a rally was held dedicated to the day of Belarusian solidarity. Belarusian students expelled from Belarusian universities for their political views, who have started their studies in Estonian universities, met with citizens of Estonia. The Event was visited by Foreign Affairs minister Urmas Paet, a deputy of Estonian parliament, a member of the group for development of democracy in Belarus Elle Kuul.
On September 16 in Prague an action of solidarity with Belarus was held. Activists of the civil initiative “Free Belarus” and “Union of Belarusians Abroad” gathered on Krizovnicka Square near the Charles Bridge to light candles of solidarity with Belarusian political prisoners and families of the abducted politicians. Participants of the rally handed out leaflets to passers-by informing about the situation in Belarus, and about the history of the Day of Belarusian Solidarity.
“This action’s aim to mobilize young people for the political campaign of local elections as candidates for deputies and volunteers. During the rally several hundreds people signed up. Others joined because there was a call for struggle, for uniting. They saw that Alyaksandr Milinkevich was there, that he hadn’t left the country, and he was together with Anatol Lyabedzka, and it means that there was no split in the coalition. It was an emotional message for the young people, that the fight goes on, and that the young people are out hope. The result of that should be that young people under 30 would make 90% of nominees for the local elections,” told one of the applicants for holding “Big Jeans Festival”, a deputy chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front party Viktar Ivashkevich evaluating the action in an interview to Radio Svaboda.
“On September 16 for the first time in many years a format of an oppositional rally was changed. Elements of new aesthetic approach to a mass action were presented. Many things have happened for the first time. New people took to the stage for the first time. DJing of the event was used for the first time, elite funk music was played. For the first time a meeting and a concert had highly experienced presenters. A new atmosphere was created because of that. I think that new aesthetics would lead to the situation when approach to such actions would change. More and more young people are taking to the streets, and they are not interested in old format of actions,” told a well-known Belarusian playwright, one of the leaders of the “Free Theatre” Nikalay Khalezin in an interview to the Charter’97 press center summing up the results of “Big Jeans Festival” held on September 16.
Today at 11 a.m. an opposition activist Vyachslau Siuchyk was taken to the court of Tsentralny district of Minsk from the remand prison. In March this year he was sentenced to 10 days of arrest for participation in protest actions against rigged results of presidential elections. It is worth mentioning that Siuchyk is to stand trial in the building of the former Yakub Kolas Belarusian Humanities Lyceum in Kirau Street. The only lyceum in the country with education in Belarusian was closed by the authorities several years ago. Now the court of Tsentralny district of Minsk is situated in that building.
Young activists Dzyanis Nibiyka and Liliya Baltnouskaya were held in the police department of Tsentralny district for more than 12 hours. Young people were detained after the rally “Big Jeans Festival” on their way home. Activists were released on September 17 in the morning without reports being drawn up. The Charter’97 press center was informed about that by a human rights activist Iryna Toustsik. Besides, in the court of Savetski district in Minsk opposition activists Mikhail Subach and Mikhail Sharamet are to stand trial.
September 16, the Day of Belarusian Solidarity, was marked all over the world. “Big Jeans Festival” was held on this day in Minsk. About 10,000 people have taken part in it. Jeans has become a symbol of freedom in Belarus, and on that day it has become a symbol of solidarity with the families of the abducted, with political prisoners and all who fight for freedom and democracy in Belarus. In many cities of our country people gathered in central squares with candles and portraits of the abducted and prisoners of conscience. Thousands of people lit candles in the windows of their houses. Solidarity actions with Belarus were held in the USA and many countries of Europe: in Poland, the Netherlands, Latvia, Belgium, Sweden, Ukraine, Russia and other countries of the world.