(charter97.org) (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.
Source, more pictures: http://www.charter97.org/en/news/2011/6/29/40030/
(avtonom.org) The situation in Belarus is now getting closer to the one that was during the elections in December 2010 but now it seems to be more massive and popular.
After the elections the economy collapsed without Russian dotations. The local currency devaluated almost thrice. Therefore the national bank limited the operations with foreign currencies wich led to smaller banks’ collapses, blocking currency accounts and cards and long lines before the currency exschange points similar to those for toilet paper and bread in the Soviet Union. The prices for most of the goods went up by 100%. The big and small businesses that where dealing with import are closing down as they can’t buy the currency. Imported cigarettes, hygiene goods, etc. have disappered. The petrol prices went up and limitations were imposed on buying it for one car.
Social unrest grows and some groups already let their steam off. Read More
(Fear to Sleep) It’s been 7 months now since the “case of arsons” was started in Belarus.
All this time our friends and comrades have been held behind the bars. Having started with random detentions of activists of radically different political views in September last year, the case is finally coming to an end – it is being brought to trial. At the moment 7 people targeted in the investigation of “the anarchists’ case” are staying under arrest.
Mikalai Dziadok is charged with :
– the organisation of an illegal anti-militarist demonstration in September 2009 against a mutual Russian-Belarusian war exercise, when a Joint Staff was attacked with a smoke grenade;
– the attack on a Minsk casino in December 2009 as a protest against growing social inequality;
– an attack on the Headquarters of the Trade Union Federation on the 1st May with the statement that the state and this formal organisation uses workers in its interests, and doesn’t defend their rights, often preventing workers from cooperating with each other and organising strikes. Mikalai can face 10 years of imprisonment.
Ihar Alinevich is charged with :
– the attack on the Russian embassy in September 2010 as a solidarity action with Khimki arrestees;
– the organisation of the illegal anti-militarist demonstration;
– the attack on a Minsk casino; *the attack on a branch of Belarusbank on Mayday as a protest against the financial system of the world; *the attack on the detention centre in September 2010 with the demand to set free all the detainees. Ihar can be sentenced to a 12-year imprisonment.
Aliaksandr Frantskevich is incriminated with :
– the participation in the illegal anti-militarist demonstration; *the attack on a police station in Soligorsk during the days of common action against the police;
– the hacker attack on the Novopolotsk municipal web-page. Aliaksandr is threatened with 10 years of imprisonment.
As for the case of the attack on the KGB headquarters in Bobruisk in October 2010 as a solidarity action with the arrested in September, now Jauhen Vas’kovich, Artsiom Prakapenka and Pavel Syramolatau are targeted in the investigation. All of them can be sentenced to a 12-year imprisonment.
It should be pointed out that initially all the detained were charged with only one of the episodes according to article 339.2 (Hooliganism), contemplating up to 6 years of jail. In the course of investigation more episodes have been added for each of the accused and the article has been changed into article 218.2(3) – intentional destruction of property with the sentence of 12 years of imprisonment. Moreover, all the evidence of the prosecution is based on the testimonies of two “witnesses” who had actually taken part in the actions themselves but never got accused of the crime.
During the investigation more than 50 people were interrogated, 14 people spent 3 to 9 days in detention facilities. All these people claimed harsh psychological and in some cases even physical pressure in the course of the investigation.
At the moment most of the accused are on the final stage of familiarisation with materials of case. It is highly probable that the court hearings are to start at the end of April – beginning of May.
That’s why we call all concerned people to make protest actions on 12.05 -15.05 May 2011 against unfair accusations and to make solidarity actions with the Belarusian anarchists. We welcome solidarity actions of ANY kind as well as other actions aimed at spreading information about the situation with political repression in Belarus and involving local human rights advocates in bringing up the problem about prosecutions in Belarus.
Anarchist Black Cross Belarus