“It was the students, almost children!” Irena is located on the October square in Minsk, near the Palace of the Republic, she’s outraged. “This is an outrage, should not be”, — said 59-year-old mother. On the other side of the street took up positions special police unit, are visible parked police vans.
Two vans have just left the area. Police detained about 20 people. Students, and bloggers called for protests in solidarity with those who had been arrested the day before. A few dozen brave people responded and dared to come to October square and were immediately arrested.
Human rights activists say that over the past few days in the capital of Belarus security forces have arrested at least 700 people. The police indiscriminately attacked demonstrators, bystanders, including elderly people and journalists, often using brute force.
The protest must be nipped in the Bud. Also on Sunday, security forces prevented any large gathering. “Go” again called the police. Journalists need to be removed “security reasons” — said the spokesman. Human rights activists report arrests in other districts of Minsk. Belarusian mass media are telling about the arrests in Bobruisk, Grodno, Brest, Orsha and Pinsk.
We are talking about more than a couple people there. The protest movement must be intimidated. Alexander Lukashenko, who rules the country since 1994, does not allow any objections. We are talking about the preservation of power.
From mid-February 2017 in different cities of the country gathered to 1,000 people protested against the so-called “tax for parasites” who entered Lukashenko by his decree. Citizens who worked less than 183 days in a year shall retroactively pay the fine, the equivalent of about 200 euros. Initially, the regime tolerated the protests against this measure, but now it cruelly suppress them.
On Sunday, the Ministry of foreign Affairs explained the action a “terrorist threat”, which reportedly prevented Saturday in anticipation of the demonstrations. When automobiles find Molotov cocktails and weapons, not to speak of peaceful demonstrations, said the spokesman. Details it is not reported. Previously, Lukashenko had warned of a “bloody riots”. Since then, the country’s growing fear. State media are largely silent about the protests.
Opposition Statkevich was missing
The EU criticized the actions of the authorities in Minsk, describing them as disproportionate, and called for the immediate release of all those arrested. Many people are still in jail. How many, exactly? Ales Bialiatski, Chairman of human rights organization “Viasna”, does not know. He believes that there are more than 100 people, maybe 200, “we will have a lot of work”.
Bialiatski says prominent opposition politician Mikalay Statkevich does not makes itself felt within a few days. “Where is he, do not know neither we, nor his wife.” KGB Sunday announced that they do not have any information about the whereabouts of Statkevich. Saturday, one of the most respected members of the opposition in the country, called for protests. In 2010, as a presidential candidate he opposed Lukashenka. After a year, he was in prison because he organized demonstrations against election fraud.
Human rights activists demand pressure from Berlin
Bialiatski was also several years in prison on charges of tax evasion. Human rights require greater pressure from the EU, particularly from Germany. “This is the only that understands Lukashenko. Berlin to exert pressure”. On Saturday, the police burst into the office of his human rights organization, gathered everyone present, activists and journalists in the gym and held there.
Bialiatski said that last year the EU lifted sanctions against Belorussi, without “a clear agreement” with Lukashenka. It was necessary to formulate specific conditions for the gradual abolition: the reform of the electoral system and registration of all political parties and public organizations.
Maneuvering between Moscow and Brussels
However, the sanctions that were imposed after the crackdown in December 2010, are unlikely to have had any impact. For many years Lukashenka has succeeded in maintaining power. This happens because it depending on their own interests, seeking closer ties with Russia in recent years with the EU, especially after the outbreak of war in Ukraine.
Previously, there was hope that, because of the tension in relations with Moscow, the leader of Belarus may choose a more liberal course. But this weekend they collapsed.