26 September 2023, Tuesday, 1:54
Sim Sim, Charter 97!

Mass arrests on Solidarity Day in Belarus again (Photo)

Mass arrests on Solidarity Day in Belarus again (Photo)

An opposition rally was brutally disbanded on September 16 in Minsk. Riot policemen prevented journalists from videoing violent arrest detention of demonstrators.

Opposition activists have gathered today on October Square in the centre of the city to pay tribute to the memory of Vice Speaker of the Supreme Soviet of the 13th convocation Viktar Hanchar, and businessman and public leader Anatol Krasouski who went missing 10 years ago. By 6 p.m., when the rally was to start, there were many riot policemen in mufti. Public transport was not stopping on the square on purpose. People were searched near the square. White-red-white flags, banners and portraits of Hanchar and Krasouski were searched.

When oppositionists lined along the street with portraits of Hanchar and Krasouski, at least 50 riot policemen in uniform appeared on the square. Thus, the total number of policemen sent against peaceful demonstrators, was about 100.

First riot policemen were circled the peaceful demonstrators. Protesting against that, demonstrators sat on the ground, still holding portraits of the abducted oppositionists. In five minutes riot policemen started to seize people, and hitting them by truncheons and kicking them, started to pack them into police buses.

At the same time riot policemen tried to hide testimony of their crimes – while some riot policemen were arresting demonstrators using force, others interfered with the work of photojournalists. Photographers were not allowed to film total lawlessness. Riot policemen in mufti were boorishly pushing them, closed camera lenses, damaging equipment.

The beaten protesters were taken to the police department of Tsentralny district of Minsk in three buses. Among the arrested are the leader of the Belarusian Social Democratic party (Narodnaya Hramada) Mikalai Statkevich, activists of the “European Belarus” Zmitser Barodka, Yauhen Afnagel, Paval Yukhnevich, Palina Kuryanovich, a pro-democracy activist Syarhei Skrabets, a former political prisoner Andrei Kim and other opposition activists.

In a few minutes after the disband of the main group of the participants of the rally, a few more people raised the portraits of the abducted politicians. Among them was the coordinator of the civil campaign “European Belarus” Zmitser Barodka.

“I was late, as bus number 100 hadn’t stopped on October Square. When I was running from the state department store to October Square, I saw how people were pushed into the bus with the use of brutal force. I took a portrait from the square. It was a portrait of Anatol Krasouski. First I was surrounded by journalists, then by riot policemen. In this way, I was standing on the square for about half an hour. Then four riot policemen in mufti were following me all the way to my home. Today’s “merits” or disbanding the rally of solidarity with the families of the abducted opposition leaders are to be shared with Lukashenka by Lithuanian president Dalia Dalia Grybauskaitė and Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, who met with the Belarusian dictator today,” Zmitser Bandarenka told to www.charter97.org website.