More than a hundred of riot policemen and policemen were fed into battle against participants of the peaceful rally in defense of independence of Belarus held today on the October Square in Minsk. The rally was timed to Vladimir Putin’s visit to Minsk. The Belarusian citizens wanted to express their protest against creation of the “union state” with Russia. As a result, a real “mopping-up operation” was staged in the center of the city. People, who gathered on the square with national flags, were beaten up unmercifully.
By the beginning of the rally, 6 p.m. the Kastrychnitskaya (October) Square was cordoned off by riot policemen. Activists of the campaign “Jeans for freedom!”, the Young Front”, the Belarusian Popular Front party, the United Civil party, the Belarusian Social Democratic party (Narodnaya Hramada) and common citizens gathered on the square. People were seized when they approached the square. They were searched unashamedly. They were ordered to open bags. When national or European flags were found, policemen seized them.
By forcing away the protesters, riot policemen cruelly pushed and beat people, and marched towards them in a line like the nazi. But protesters stood strong, withstanding the onslaught. They hoisted the white-red-white flags chanting “Long live Belarus!”
When forced away from the square, people didn’t disband. They tried to return to the October Square. Riot policemen tried to stop them. They staged a real barbarity in the center of the city. Flags were snatched from protesters, flagpoles were broken. Policemen were stamping on white-red-white flags. Those who tried to resist were beaten up cruelly by fists, kicked. However the standoff continued. People were coming again and again, they lifted the desecrated flags and chanted: “For independent Belarus!” and “Long live Belarus!”
Journalists of the Charter’97 press-center heard riot policemen talking with each other: “Why do we ping-pong them so childishly? We’d better beat them to a pulp once, that’s all!” Journalists who were informing on the phone about the clash, they said as a “joke”: “We are going to rape”.
By 6.30 p.m. people were pushed out from the October Square to the circus and the Svislach River. On the staircase near Kupalauski park riot policemen were pushing people from the steps to Yanka Kupala Park. They didn’t care there were elderly people and women with children among protesters.
Merciless beating up of the protestors continued. One of the Young Front leaders Zmitser Fedaruk was beaten up. He hit the asphalt by his head. Riot policemen knocked him down on the ground and literally “stamped” on him. Participanst of the rally called in an ambulance. Fedaruk was taken to the hospital No.9. Doctors do not exclude that he has a brain concussion and fractures of bones. Witnesses saw that and are ready to speak in a court.