About 1,000 people came to the action.
A Meeting of Free People took place in the Kastrychnitskaya Square in Minsk. The action was announced by European Belarus civil campaign activist Yauhen Afnahel back on November 8, when the meeting of subscribers of popular blogger NEXTA was held in Minsk. The idea of the Meeting of Free People was supported by many Belarusian bloggers, civil activists, trade union and youth leaders.
The website Charter97.org provided live text coverage of the event in Minsk.
The video materials have been provided by Belsat and Radio Svaboda.
The Meeting of Free People in the Freedom Square has ended. Leader of the Belarusian National Congress Mikalai Statkevich and famous journalist, activist of the European Belarus Iryna Khalip have called to come again to the Freedom Square tomorrow at 6 p.m., for a legal meeting. Thank you for staying with us.
Blogger and poet Ales Krutkin is reciting his poems. He has touched upon the theme of the lack of free elections in Belarus. “We need to get back elections - this is our first demand.”
The detention of the European Belarus activists Yauhen Afnahel, Maksim Viniarski, Volha Nikalaichyk, Andrei Sharenda, Andrei Voynich, and Anastasia Huseva has been reported. The people are chanting “Freedom to European Belarus activists!”
Mikalai Statkevich has suppported Iryna Khalip's idea to gather in the Freedom Square in Minsk tomorrow: “We must free our comrades. We must use the month of freedom. Tomorrow at this place will be the election picket of Alena Talstaya. Everything will be, supposedly, legal. I urge free people to gather at the same place tomorrow. On Freedom Square at 18:00. The picket will start at 16:00. For Belarus to live, we must fight. See you tomorrow! Long live Belarus! ”
Iryna Khalip is speaking: “European Belarus activist Volha Nikalaichyk has been detained. We do not know what happened to our activists who intended to come here, but have not reached the place. I appeal to the authorities so that they stop saying nonsense! This is a signal that they are afraid of us even individually!”
“I am so outraged that they are selling our land to the Turks, Arabs, Chinese. This is our land! What right do you have to do this?! I want the change of power! I have never seen other president! Please, do not be afraid, there are so many of us!” a young activist’s speech has steered up the people.
“Why should I leave, being afraid to tell the truth? When General Zakharanka went missing, there wasn’t a million of protesters in the street. Lukashenka is evil,” another deceived shareholder is speaking. Several people, whom the state deceived with housing, have come to the Meeting of Free People.
“People, we are the majority. This bunch of people who have usurped power, is afraid of us,” activist Alena Talstaya claims.
A vivid discussion is ongoing in the Freedom Square. People come up with proposals, trying to answer the main question - #what next?
“The main thing that needed to be done has already been done for you today. You did it - you came to protest. We will think what to do next,” Mikalai Statkevich replies.
“Let us look for the ways of consolidating, and prepare to the presidential election,” a participant of the Meeting is urging.
Mikalai Statkevich is taking the floor. “Any crimes are possible under these authorities. Because we don’t choose these rulers. If we change the power - then everything will become achievable.”
The people are telling about their problems. This is a real “free microphone” There has not been anything like this in Belarus since the perestroika times. A deceived shareholder is telling about the lawlessness of the officials. A woman has brought documents confirming the officials’ fraud to the square.
“Let us believe that today is the beginning. Yes, we have different approaches, different visions. But let’s throw out these kolkhoz occupants first!” - a bright speech by Iryna Khalip in the Square. The people are chanting “Long Live Belarus!”
“I see 79% of youth in the Freedom Square. This makes me happy,” activist Natallia Mishchanka has spoken in the Square.
The second column has joined the Meeting of Free People! Several hundred people in the Freedom Square!
Leader of the Razam resistance movement Viachaslau Siuchyk is telling about the authorities’ attitude towards Kurapaty and other necropoleis of the Stalinist repressions victims. “We need to escalate the resistance! Belarus lived, lives and will live!: he has said.
Drivers support the second column, which is moving towards the Freedom Square.
“They don’t let us study. Let us chant “Enough!” - a very emotional speech of a student in the Square.
Everyone who wants speak at the Meeting of Free People. Welcome a student from Homel, who is telling that the youth is leaving the country.
Activist Alena Talstaya has made a speech in the square, telling about falsifications and the threat to independence on the part of Russia.
Part of the column is already in the Freedom Square, the other part, which was waiting for the new people to come and join, is also moving towards the Freedom Square.
Students are present at the action, telling about their problems, including coercion to vote at the so-called elections, assignment, and the cancellation of postponements of the army service for those wanting to obtain higher education.
The column is chanting “Long Live Belarus!”
A Ukrainian lady has come to the Meeting. She has told about the pros of political life in Ukraine. “Presidents change,” she said.
A column of several hundred people has formed.
Mikalai Statkevich suggested moving to the Freedom Square to continue the Meeting of Free People there.
Film director Aliaksandr Turovich condemned falsification of elections in Belarus, then went down on his knees and called to stop the NPP construction.
Narodnaya Hramada activists Natallia Mishchanka, Valiantsin Trotski, and blogger Ales Krutkin are present.
“Really free people have come here today. That is why I want all of you to look around. You will see real Belarusians with dignity,” blogger Grey Cat has started the Meeting.
“The European Belarus has made a great gift to Belarusians. There will be a New Year’s tree 1,5 months before the holiday. Thanks a lot,” Mikalai Statkevich jokes.
There have appeared white-red-white flags and national symbols in the square. Leader of the Belarusian National Congress Mikalai Statkevich is present.
There are about 100 people at the Meeting now. The people find it hard to squeeze in the space free from repairs works.
“Only live contacts and communication. People have ideas, they are looking for answers to their questions. That is why we have come to this Meeting of Free People today. To prepare to large-scale protests, we need to take action now,” Iryna Khalip says.
People ridicule the actions of the authorities in the social media and Youtube.
Famous journalist Iryna Khalip, activists of the European Belarus civil campaign Leanid Kulakou, Vasil Zhorau, and Palina Sharenda-Panasyuk have arrived to the action. The people are joining.
The authorities deliberately organized repair works in the Square. The workers have started doing their job, they are taking off the old tiles, work with air-hammers.
Several dozen people have already gathered in the Kastrychnitskaya Square. The authorities are trying to disrupt the Meeting of Free People under the pretext of installation of the New Year tree. However, the people are coming up, joining the action.