9 May 2021, Sunday, 6:56
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Minsk Coffee Shops Saving Locals From Detention

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Minsk Coffee Shops Saving Locals From Detention
PHOTO: NASHA NIVA

Cafe workers left the establishments and offered help.

Yesterday, a wave of detentions took place across the country again - according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 774 people ended up in the police. Most of them did not come home to spend the night, writes Onliner. There could have been much more detainees, but the employees of some establishments decided to lock the doors to avoid clashes with the security forces. The journalists spoke with the owners of the capital's coffee houses about yesterday's events.

“The Grain”. “The law enforcers searched every bush. One guy is experiencing severe stress.”

On Sunday afternoon, Independence Avenue was traditionally full of security officials. They were located at all entrances to the courtyards. Police officers were checking the backpacks of passers-by who were moving towards Independence Square. At the moment when the column of demonstrators was marching past “The Grain” coffee shop, uniformed officers began to detain people. Many of the protesters decided to run inside the coffee shop.

- At some point, a huge crowd of people ran into the arch, and then to our coffee shop. Apparently, they were cut off from the rest, and not allowed to pass. Then our small garden began to fill with people in helmets. There were a lot of them - it seems to me, about 200-300 officers, although I admit that there were ten times less of them, but because of fear it seemed so. The whole square was black with their uniforms.

Our employee held the door and acted absolutely instinctively. She was very scared. The cameras show how at some point she closes the door with a key, while the security forces remain standing on the porch. About 70 people squeezed in our coffee shop, - says Hanna Hromava, founder of “The Grain”.

She says that the security forces spent about 10-15 minutes on the terrace, then began to explore the area around the coffee shop.

- They searched every bush, walked every meter, and then left. Everyone was very scared. One guy obviously experienced a severe stress, I don't know if it will continue ... But what is most surprising, nothing was broken. Yes, the tables and chairs were upside down, but the whole thing. And today we receive a huge number of thanks, people offer help, saying, “Thanks to you we spent the night at home today.”

Seadog & Friends. “One guy tied a scarf and pretended to be a girl. The rest were taken away”.

The Seadog & Friends coffee shop also tried to hide people, but the employee did not have time to close the door. The institution says that as a result, the security forces detained all the guys.

- There was a company with posters sitting in our coffee shop, then other people began to run in quickly. I realized that they were trying to detain them, and ran for the keys, but did not have time - people in uniform burst into our place, - says the employee of the institution who was working at the time of the incident. - They told me to remove the keys, using foul language, I obeyed. But, you know, it's even better: I'm afraid the closed door wouldn't stop them. They even had firearms with them.

The policemen spoke rather harshly. Then they heard that someone was hiding in the closet, took the guys out and started checking the boxes where the company hid the posters.

The security officials said they were detaining all the guys. One, however, tied a scarf and pretended to be a girl. The rest were taken away. As they left, they wished the girls bon appetit and a good day.

B&A coffee. “The girls saved 20 people. They offered water, and to charge the phones”

This establishment is located on Peramozhtsau Avenue, 89. According to a Twitter user under the nickname angry zayac, the coffee shop workers noticed that the security forces began to detain people who broke away from the main column, and locked up the visitors.

At that moment, barista Anastasia was at her workplace. She saw a column of running people, went out into the street and invited the Minskers to hide.

- We are located in a basement, so I could only see the legs of the people running. I understood everything, went out and invited them to come to us, and then locked the door. At that moment the riot police were already standing on the porch, but they did not make any attempts to enter the premises: we have an iron door. Then through the window we saw that paddy wagons arrived, in which people were “packed”. When the vehicles left, people began to leave, - said Anastasia.