5 September 2020 | Infocenter Free Belarus 2020
Here starts the 28th day of the Belarusian peoples’ struggle for their country. Yesterday ended with numerous rallies and chains of solidarity in Minsk and other cities and towns in the country, dancing on the main square, minibuses without number-plates stuffed with armed men in balaclavas, and at least 27 new detentions.
What else has been reported or happened last night and in the morning today?
Before 08:00 am
The Polish prosecutor’s office has commenced an investigation into the beating of Polish citizens by the Belarusian security forces.
The Polish citizens were detained on August 9, shortly after leaving the restaurant and released only on August 13. Now they are back in Poland, have undergone a comprehensive medical examination, and their injuries have been confirmed and reported. They stated that:-:
We were taken to the police station. And then they brought us to some gym, in the basement. There the tortures began which lasted over 15 hours. Apart from us, there were about a few hundred people there, some were constantly being led in and out. I think that a thousand people have passed through this place.
The men also pointed out that their Polish origins were subject to additional repressions. “Often the officers were harder on us, talking about our origins. All our requests were turned down. We asked to contact the consulate, but they laughed at us and went on beating.”
More voices rise to tell the world about what is happening in Belarus. Meletina Staneouta, a famous rhythmic gymnast from Belarus has given an interview to the Guardian, where she spoke in detail about what is happening in the country and why she supports the peaceful protest.
Last night Euroradio published a new video of Taraikouski’s death.
In the video, it is seen that Aliaksandr Taraikouski has nothing in his hands, although police now claim that the 34-year-old Minsk resident died from an explosion from an unknown device, which he allegedly wanted to throw at the security forces. The new video also shows a second shot in the direction of Alyaksandr Taraikouski. The shooter is a security officer standing to Taraikovki’s left. After this shot Taraikouski, whose blood stain is already visible on his T-shirt, falls down.
08:00 am Founders of PandaDoc IT company, based in Belarus, have published an open letter, where they are asking for support of the company and its employees.
They also wrote that four employees of PandaDoc have been arrested for two months on suspicion of large-scale theft.
The case has been commenced ante-date. The company is confident that this is revenge for the actions of its founder, Mikita Mikado, who, in particular, offered help, including financial help, to the internal security and police officers who have decided to resign, as well as to other people who have lost their jobs because of their civil position …
“There is no more law. The authorities do not even try to follow the law – they just fabricate cases following political orders that come from above. And if you thought that this would not affect you, then we can definitely assure you of the opposite – it has already affected everyone.” – the letter states..
08:30 am Russian prankers Vovan and Lexus have assured the public that they had nothing to do with the allegedly intercepted „negotiations between Berlin and Warsaw“ shown by the Belarusian state TV channels.
The text of the conversation impressed the prankers so much that they said “this shouldn’t be really commented by us, rather it’s material for relevant doctors, experts in the field of psychiatry”.
9:00 am Two more women are reported detained in Gomel.
One of the detainees, Tatiana Bachurnaya, was collecting signatures to recall a local deputy, but was detained and taken to the police department late at night yesterday. Despite having a small child waiting for her at home, the woman was placed in a temporary detention facility.
Another detainee, a public activist Svetlana Narskina was initially summoned to the Central District Department of Internal Affairs „for a conversation“. She came there at 6 p.m. but has never left the building, and was sent to the detention ward instead.
The police have not said what the women have been accused of.
9:30 am Naviny.by cited Pavel Latushko’s interview to Lithuanian portal Delfi.
“At least 80% of the state apparatus are negative about the current government – he said. “It does not matter where such and such works – at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or the Ministry of Agriculture – wherever, they all have a negative attitude to what is happening in the country.” “Their support exists only on paper. They are demotivated. […] Therefore, the government does not have a real point of support in the civilian state apparatus,” Latushko said.
10:38 am Naviny.by has reported that the Czech Republic is ready to help Belarusians who have suffered from police brutality.
The corresponding document has been prepared by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Czech Republic and will be submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers. If approved, Belarusians will be able to receive free medical and rehabilitation support – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will prepare necessary visas, the Ministry of Health will allocate places in hospitals.
11:15 am After yesterday’s scandal at the Minsk State Linguistic University, where 5 students were brutally detained inside the university, the Minister of Education has issued instructions to strengthen control over the access of unauthorized persons to educational institutions.
Exact measures have not been stated, but the question is will students or armed men calling themselves police, be called “unauthorized persons”?
11:35 am Ex-presidential candidate, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, is planning to visit Poland. Pavel Yablonsky, the Deputy Minister of the Foreign Affairs of Poland, announced this news on the Radio Zet this morning.
According to the organisation “Belarusian House in Warsaw”, the meeting, organised by the Prime Minister’s office, is planned for September 9th, as reported on their Facebook page.
11.45 am Students of the Belarusian State University were not allowed to hold a protest rally. They planned to hold a solidarity rally in the courtyard of the Belarusian State University, but the entrance to the courtyard was blocked and all students were kicked out. This is reported by the student channel in TG. The University students decided to join the actions that are planned at another university and are now going to the courtyard of the Belarusian National Technical University.
12:05 pm A students’ solidarity rally started at noon in Minsk, however, some people have already been detained as early as 12:05. Tut.by correspondent reports that students in small groups of several dozen people each, are heading from the Belarusian National Technical University and the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics to the agreed gathering place..
A minibus without number plates and full of police in plainclothes and masks is patrolling the avenue.
Two students have already been detained and taken to the minibus. The people in masks have approached the marching students and ordered they put away a white-red-white flag.
12:20 pm Riot police in civilian clothes with their faces fully covered, ordered a young woman to put away a white-red-white flag with the symbol of the Belarusian National Technical University.
12:25 pm Brest football club “Dinamo” reported that its contract with goal-keeper coach Vasily Khomutovsky has been terminated by mutual consent.
Earlier, in his video address, Vasily Khomutovsky publicly condemned the brutality and violence of the security forces after the presidential elections and posted his support of the national white-red-white flag.
1:00 pm Students of the Minsk State Linguistic University were violently detained yesterday while singing La Marseillaise in front of the University. Today, over a hundred students have gathered there again. Students from the Belarusian National Technical University also came in a column (and partially by bus) to support their friends.
Linguistic University teachers also came out to support their students. One of the teachers spoke in support of his students, stating that this rally was not the last one, and it was vitally important to prevent the country from sliding into a repressive police state.
1:10 pm !!! Over 15 students have been detained on Karl Marx Street in Minsk. According to witnesses from the scene, “All young men were detained”.
A woman pleaded, “Please do not touch children”, while people in masks respond, “We do not touch them.” Video
1:30 pm Ex-candidate of the presidential elections Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya met with the member of Presidium of the Coordination Council, Pavel Latushka. They both confirmed their readiness to continue their fight as a united team.
Tsikhanouskaya noted that in the past Latushka had been serving as an Belarusian Ambassador to Poland and France, as a Minister of Culture, and had a good knowledge of the government apparatus: “Mr Latushka shows that it is never too late to take people’s side.”
2:00 pm Students have formed a long solidarity chain near the Linguistic University. Before moving towards the center, two students read excerpts from the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus while standing in chains.
2:06 pm From the Minsk State Linguistic University, the students’ column is moving towards Komarovsky market.
2:07 pm Tut.by readers report that a crane and several minibuses without any number plates have arrived at the residential complex “Cascade” to take down white-red-white flags. Residents have formed a human shield to prevent the security forces from entering the complex. The flags are stretched between the buildings.
2:15 pm Tut.by journalist reports that students are being detained near Yakub Kolas Square. As soon as the students’ column reached the square, unidentified people in civilian clothes with masks started grabbing students and taking them to the minibuses. Several young men have already been detained. People are shouting, “What are you doing!”
Unknown people in balaclavas came out of cars and entered “Euroopt” shopping centre near the Belarusian State Philharmonic Society. Some students hid in the centre. According to journalists, several people were detained inside the shopping centre. Video
2:40 pm BSU students appealed to the University’s management, “Our friends were detained during the peaceful march. Why did it happen!?” Video
3:10 pm Women with white-red-white flags and posters saying: “Remember the dreams of your youth!”; “I, We are PandaDoc”; “Being against the authorities does not mean being against the Motherland”; “Because of him, mother bury their children,” amongst other slogans, gathered in front of the central market of Minsk. Several people came with flags of other countries: Canada, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Spain, USA, Israel, Vatican, Russia, Italy, Germany, and Finland.
Police officers in uniform and in civilian clothes approached the audience, filming people. People shouted at them: „Shame“, „Get out“, „This is our city.“
3:30 pm The confrontation between residents of one of the residential complexes of Minsk and the Ministry of Emergency Situations has been going on since early morning. For weeks, residents of the complex have been hanging national flags in their yard, and unknown persons wearing masks have been taking them down. Today, residents did not let the Emergencies Ministry’s car, which again came to remove the white-red-white flags, into the courtyard.
3:40 pm A column of several thousand women moved from the central market, headed towards Victory Square. Many participants came carrying symbols of pandas, in support of the arrested employees of the PandaDoc company, Nasha Niva reported. The women shouted a new chant: „Get out – you and your OMON!“ About 4,000 people took part in the women’s march in Minsk.
4:10 pm As reported by Radio Svoboda, a member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council, Olga Kovalkova, has fled to Poland after being released from detention. This information was confirmed by the press secretary of the council, Anton Rodenkov.
Olga was sentenced on August 24th to 10 days imprisonment after being arrested during a picket near MTZ. She should have been released on September 3rd, but was sentenced to 15 more days for participating in a demonstration on August 23rd. After leaving the detention center, she revealed the torture she’d suffered. A little later, Kovalkova explained the reason for her departure: she said she was threatened with prolonged arrest in Belarus.
4:20 pm Belsat A women’s march also took place in Grodno, a large regional center in western Belarus. It was attended by about 50 women.
The participants were not allowed into the city center, and some of the central streets were blocked. The police and riot police were overseeing the march – to date, no one was detained.
A Women’s march was also taking place today in Gomel, a city in the south of the country. About 200 people gathered there.
4:30 pm About 30 people have been detained in Minsk for participation in unauthorized events today, the city police department reported.
4:35 pm The white-red-white ribbon flag, which was recently removed by unknown masked people in one of the residential complexes in Minsk, is again on the building. And it is far from being the only building which is displaying the flag.
4:45 pm Two Belsat journalists, Maksim Garchenok and Alyona Dubovik, were detained in Minsk. They were covering the women’s march. The column of women continues to move towards Oktyabrskaya Square.
4:50 pm Minsk The women went out onto the roadway. In response to police attempts to get them back to the sidewalk, the march participants shouted back, „You can’t stop us!“ Nasha Niva
5:05 pm The column of women reached the KGB building in Minsk. Some of the women stopped, raised their hands up and showed the “V” sign.
5:20 pm Protesters took to Independence Square in Minsk. They occupied the center of the square and began to sing.
5:25 pm Olga Kovalkova, at a press conference in Warsaw, told the details of her departure to Poland. “Representatives of the KGB came to me and said that I’d be subjected to a long detention. They arrived at the detention center, put me in a car, put a black hood on my head and took me out. I did not see anything. I passed the Belarusian border, they threw me out with my documents, a Minsk-Warsaw bus was driving by and the Polish driver took me with him. Surprisingly, he recognized me, was astonished that I’d been allowed to leave and wished me all the best. „
5:30 pm Participants of the women’s march are gradually taking over Independence Square. They are being filmed by officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Demonstrators positioned themselves near the Red Church and sang the song „Try charapakhi“ (Three turtles). The area near Government House was barricaded off by metal fences.
5:40 pm Several thousand people were doing a circle dance around the square. Video
5:50 pm Tut.by reported that parents are gathered near the Leninsky District Internal Affairs Directorate, where the students detained today were taken. There was an ambulance nearby. Up to now, the students have not yet been released.
The doctors said that they have not yet seen everyone, but there were no severe injuries during the arrest.
6:00 pm The authorities continue to obstruct journalists’ work. It’s been confirmed that during today’s women’s march, Anastasia Zakharevich, a journalist from “Zeliony Portal” (“The Green Portal”), was detained.
Prior to that, two journalists from Belsat TV channel were also detained while covering the same event.
6:15 pm Viktor Kuvshino’s (PandaDoc top manager) mother has come to Independence Square in Minsk. Victor is currently in jail, and his mother is at the rally with a poster showing a photo of her son and grandson with the inscription „We are proud!“
“Mothers, do not fear anything, because no one will protect our children!”
6:20 pm Out of 28 arrested students, 26 still remain in police custody. Their parents and friends are waiting for them outside. The students meanwhile are in the police station courtyard. A fence of barbed wire stands between them.
6:30 pm Several hundred women remain on Independence Square but uniformed men have pushed them towards the church. The participants are chanting: “Aren’t you ashamed?”, “You swore an oath”, “How much is your conscience?”
6:35 pm A column of trucks with military personnel is driving down Victory Avenue towards the city center.
6:37 pm On Independence Square in Minsk, unidentified men in green clothes and black balaclavas tried to cordon off the Red Church. In the end, protesters surrounded the unidentified men. Then, protesters joined them in the “cordon”.
In this video, you can see women chanting: “We don’t need your guarding”, and then “This is our city”.
7:00 pm Bells are ringing in the square. In the Red Church, people are gathering for the Mass dedicated to those who have suffered at peaceful rallies.
7:00 pm Minsk. About 400 people remain on Independence Square, but they are gradually dispersing. Demonstrators laid down their posters at the mall passage. Here are some of the inscriptions: “What does it take to be happy? For him to leave”, “Make way for the young”, “Neutrality is not a position. We are foreign-language speakers, and we want to be proud”, “Blue vests are not a target. Leave the journalists alone.”
7:10 pm A little earlier, a group of uniformed policemen ran abruptly to the Hotel Minsk and blocked the sidewalk, obstructing the way for a column of believers walking towards the Red Church. But people broke through the cordon and managed to reach Mass at the Red Church.
7:15 pm Near the KGB building, unidentified men in balaclavas and masks detained a girl with a white-red-white flag.
7:20 pm Eight students have already been released from the Leninsky District Internal Affairs Department. One of them said:
“It all started when we gathered in the courtyard of the Minsk State Linguistic University: We sang songs in support. Then we decided to walk in a column. […] Buses without numbers arrived, people jumped out of them. We stood in a chain. They took only one then. And, unfortunately, we could not see him there.”
“Then we moved on. […] Buses again. People jumped out. No uniforms. No badges. […] We began to form a chain. The place was not right there. There was a cafe, and they hemmed us in from the back. […] At some point it all started. I don’t know how to describe it. Meat. […] Beating started. […] Pulling hair. […] I lost my glasses. […] I fell. […] They just grabbed me and threw me into a minibus.”
7:25 pm On Independence Square, people are trying to hand over to the police a drunk woman, who tried to get into the church causing a disturbance. However, police working in the square refused, saying they cannot detain a drunk, swearing woman, or put her in one of the parked vans. They say people have to wait for “other policemen with another car.”
7:36 pm Five of the students detained today will be taken to the temporary detention facility in Okrestin Street. Their classmates say that two of them have been detained for participating in unauthorized mass events for the second time.
7:44 pm Music plays from a bluetooth speaker in a detention van parked near Independence Square – it’s the same songs that lately have become a symbol of protest and the fight for change. Also, smoke comes from the car windows (and it’s not a fire).
8:00 pm News sites and social media channels post photos from numerous support events in different districts of Minsk and other cities of Belarus.
In Minsk, people with white-red-white flags gather all over the city.
This video was taken in one of the sleeping districts of the city.
8:05 pm Near the Hotel Minsk unidentified people in uniform detained a woman who was walking alone from Independence Square. She was put into a minibus and taken away. They did not introduce themselves and did not explain anything.
Five uniformed policemen are standing on the sidewalk at the Hotel Minsk, and another five on the other side of the street. They prevented some people entering the square.
8:17 pm On social networks, people described how they saw unknown people in the center of Minsk pushing several women into a bus without numbers and taking them away. One woman tried to report the abduction to the traffic police officers, but they simply ignored her words, only stating that “they are being taken by the police”.
8:24 pm Belsat TV journalists, detained today at the women’s march, were released from Oktyabrsky district police department.
8:35 pm On Independence Square, a song about “Omon” started playing from the speakers.
8:41 pm Traditionally, people have gathered at the auroch statue on Dzerzhinsky Avenue. About a hundred people are now gathered there, lined up in two lines, one in the street, the other on the sidewalk. Passing cars honk in support. Security officials are nowhere in sight.
8:51 pm On Independence Avenue, unidentified people in masks and without identification marks tried to push a cyclist into a minibus, but passers-by fended them off. Four uniformed policemen were watching the whole thing – none of them did anything.
9:11 pm Today, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya answered questions in a live YouTube session.
We briefly overview the main points.
Do you consider yourself the winner in the election?
Of course, Belarusian people know who they voted for.
“Firstly, you shouldn’t [ask] about the opposition – we are now the majority. The most important point is that our votes were stolen from us, the election was rigged. And he [Lukashenko] is illegitimate.”
“The Constitutional Court was created so that the will of the people could reach the regime. ...> And we will achieve our goal.”
“The leaders of different countries contacted me. And I never refused to talk “to anyone. All expressed support for the Belarusian people. We are open to dialogue with representatives of any country. And with Russia.
So there was no call?
So there wasn’t.
“I stick to my position: I will not participate in the new elections (after the transition of power – Ed.).”
“I work neither for the West, nor for the East, nor even for Jupiter.”
Svetlana denied rumors that after Viktor Babarika’s headquarters announced their creation of a new political party, the joint headquarters and the Coordination Council split apart. Maria Kolesnikova and Veronika Tsepkalo also joined the broadcast and confirmed her words. “We are together, like the entire Belarusian people,” said Tikhanovskaya.
10:04 pm “Belarusian cyber partisans’ – this is the signature which appeared on hacked pro-government websites – attacks continue. Meanwhile websites of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the public association “Belaya Rus“” stopped working today.
10:31 pm At the end of the service at the Red Church, Bishop Yuri Kasabutsky asked the congregation to thank the Belarusian journalists for their work.
10:36 pm Today, the process of founding an independent Belarusian doctors association has begun. The documents and the charter have already been prepared in order to ensure that health workers labour is organised lawfully, safely and professionally.
10:44 pm nThe Stolichnaya TV website was hacked. This TV channel today aired a video with fabricated confessions from detained TV presenters Kokhno and Dudinsky.
10:57 pm Despite continued detentions of lone passers-by, most districts of Minsk now feel like this.