(updated) Minsk centre is again cordoned off by riot police.
This is a traditional manner the authorities react to a call of the group “Revolution through social networks” to gather on central squares of their towns every Wednesday and clap hands in silence protesting against dictatorship and demanding changes.
By 6 in the evening, October Square was enclosed with crowd control barriers and divided into sectors. A stage was erected in front of the Palace of Republic. Men in military uniform with dogs and hand held metal detectors walk on the square. There are a lot of riot policemen. A group of young people in white waterproofs with inscriptions “Youth squad of public order” was noticed there.
The authorities brought sound amplifying equipment and a huge plasma display to organize a disco for members of BRSM, the pro-presidential youth organization, to impede participants of silent protests, though it rained heavily in Minsk now.
Buses and prison vehicles with riot policemen stood behind the Central supermarket as well as behind the Palace of Republic.
Freedom Square is also cordoned off with crowd control barriers.
A concert of Belarusian pop stars began on October Square at 6:30 pm. One could get through barriers only after search with metal detector. About 100 BRSM activists gathered on the square waving official state flags. Journalists noticed that names of BRSM members were checked against some lists.
At the same time, plainclothes police officers began to detain journalists. “Nasha Niva” journalist Ales Piletski and photographer Uladz Hrydzin were arrested. Hrydzin was beaten, Radio Svaboda reports.
Police called on passers-by not to gather in groups near the Central supermarket. Entrance to metro at the Trade Unions Palace was closed; bus No 100 did not stopped on Independence Avenue.
After 7:00 pm, a group of 50 people managed to walk down Independence Avenue clapping their hands. It was accompanied by riot police in mufti.
The number of participants of the rally began to grow. Police began to arrest people.
About 10 persons were detained near the circus. When the column reached Zhuravinka restaurant (intersection of Yanka Kupala and International Streets), a police bus stopped near. 20 men in mufti got out of it and began to catch people in a rude way, dragging girls by their hair.
A correspondent of Latvian radio, Ugis Lebetis, was detained on Yanka Kupala Street. There was an attempt to detain Lithuanian television journalists.
Another police bus stopped at the intersection of Yanka Kupala and Maksim Bahdanovich Streets near the hospital. Some persons were detained.
Policemen hit BelaPAN operator Vasily Syamashka on his forehead. He was bleeding. Belgazeta photographer Vadzim Zamirouski was detained.
Eye-witnesses say police were more brutal than during previous actions. Most detained people are in the Savetski district police department now.