24 October 2020 | Infocenter Free Belarus 2020
8:06 am EU and USA urge Belarusian authorities to start dialogue with the “real representatives of civil society”.
EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Agency Josep Borrell and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a telephone conversation about the situation in Belarus, as Borrell wrote in his Twitter account.
Following the conversation, a press release of the European External Action Services was issued, it is noted that the parties “urged the Belarusian authorities to start a substantive dialogue with real representatives of civil society, in particular with the Coordination Council created by Sviatlana Tsihanovskaya.” The EU and the US “confirmed their strong support for the independence and sovereignty of Belarus.”
Borrell condemned “the growing level of violence against protesters”, calling them “a sign of desperation on the authorities’ side,” and also recalled that the EU imposed sanctions on 40 Belarusian officials, whom he considers guilty of electoral fraud and violence against citizens.
The European official admitted that the situation in Belarus is only getting worse, and the European Council is ready to “greenlight” the second package of sanctions, which will include Lukashenko.
In addition, the EU is working on a “comprehensive package of economic assistance” that Brussels will be ready to offer Belarus in case of democratic changes.
8:15 am Last night, in the Minsk microdistrict of Novaya Borovaya, during a courtyard concert, in front of the local residents and the police, unknown persons attacked an elderly man and used a stranglehold on him. The man lost consciousness after those, who were assumed to be the security forces, fled. An ambulance was called and the man was taken to the hospital. Nothing threatens his life. The policemen who were present at the attack explained their inaction by the impossibility of resisting actions of the security forces.
8:20 am Belarus restricts the use of currency in payments for energy resources.
Resident legal entities and resident sole proprietors will be allowed to use the currency only in contracts for natural gas with OJSC Gazprom Transgaz Belarus, as well as for fertilizers between OJSC Belarusian Potash Company and Belaruskali.
Previously, the currency could be used in contracts between all legal entities and individual entrepreneurs for imported gas, oil, other hydrocarbon raw materials, petroleum products, coal, liquefied gas, electricity, etc.
9:30 am The average salary in Belarus has declined for the second month in a row.
According to Belstat, in September the average salary was 1,264.50 BYN (approx. USD 498.50), which is 11.9 BYN (approx. USD 4.70) less than in August.
10:15 am Arbitrary detention of people on the streets of Minsk continues.
On Friday evening a group of young people was detained on the street in Minsk, including the environmentalist and operator of the Green Telephone and the public organization “EcoDom” member Alyona Dubovik. Now she is in the pre-trial detention center in Akrestsin Street. Dubovik’s trial will take place on Monday, 26 October.
10:45 am US citizens in Belarus advised to stock up on food and cash.
The US Embassy in Belarus advises its fellow citizens in the country to stock up on food, water, medicine and cash for three days. This is due to the upcoming protests and the People’s Ultimatum announced by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
10:55 am Another pro-government car rally.
Pro-government car rally participants are gathering at the exit from Minsk in the direction of Mahiliou. They are filmed by a film crew of the ONT TV channel.
11:05 am International Olympic Committee Executive Board is concerned about political discrimination against Belarusian athletes.
The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) received an interim report on the situation of athletes in the Republic of Belarus, and again expressed concern about the situation in the sports community of Belarus.
Earlier, the IOC Executive Board initiated an investigation into the compliance of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the Republic of Belarus with the Olympic Charter. They received guarantees of full compliance by the NOC with the Olympic Charter from the Belarusian side.
Nevertheless, the IOC has once again expressed serious concern about the general situation of the sports community in Belarus.
The IOC promised to continue monitoring the situation of Belarusian athletes on the eve of the Olympic Games in Tokyo and Beijing.
11:15 am Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya addressed priests.
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya addressed the religious communities of Belarus and their leaders with words of gratitude for opening the doors of churches to shelter peaceful protesters.
In her address, Tsikhanouskaya listed the names of priests who were punished for showing mercy to protesters.
“The support of the Churches is now more important than ever. True democracy respects everyone’s faith and voice. Let this voice never cease, but sound more and more distinctly – and it will be heard,” Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said.
11:25 am BY_help campaign has paid out 2.8 million BYN (USD 1.1 million) to the persecuted Belarusians.
In the last 10 days alone, the campaign has paid half a million BYN to the Belarusian citizens who have suffered from the actions of the security forces.
In total, the campaign received 7 thousand applications and about 2.2 thousand have already been processed.
Applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis; on average, it takes 3–4 weeks to process an application.
11:35 am A criminal case opened against a 17-year-old Minsk resident for blocking the road.
Maksim Babich, a 17-year-old resident of Minsk, is charged under Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus (organization of group actions that grossly violate public order). He is in police custody.
The reason for the detention was the boy’s blocking the roadway on 13 October in the Serebryanka district of Minsk.
12:30 pm “We turned our cell into a dollhouse.” Artist Nadya Sayapina painted portraits of her inmates.
Artist Nadya Sayapina was sentenced to 15 days for participating in the flashmob “The art of the Regime” near the Palace of Arts.
During her imprisonment, the girl became friends with her cellmates; this is how she recalls them in an interview for LADY.TUT.BY: “With the girls we were constantly discussing something, joking, inventing entertainment for ourselves. Fear did not disappear, and neither did psychological pressure, but they receded into the background… We sang songs and drew pictures, and held make-believe corporate parties and weddings for each other. We sang Kupalinka quietly to every girl who was released.”
12:51 pm The US Embassy in Minsk, on the eve of the People’s Ultimatum announced by ex-presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, recommended that Americans in Belarus avoid mass events and stock up at least a three-day supply of food, water and medicine.
“Last week, a ‘people’s ultimatum’ was put forward with an appeal to the government of Belarus to fulfill certain requirements by 25 October. In case of failure to fulfill them, the consequences (protests, strikes, blocking traffic and other measures) were also announced to take place within the framework of the ultimatum,” says the message on the diplomatic mission website.
They do not rule out that in this situation, law enforcement agencies may intensify the use of force during protests against protesters, demonstrations and other mass events.
In this regard, the Embassy recommended US citizens to explore the possibility of leaving the country by plane or ground transport. It also advised to avoid places of mass events, and to follow local news of what is happening.
“Stock up food, water, medicine, cash and other emergency supplies for at least three days,” it said. In addition, the diplomatic mission recommends people to always have an identity card with them, including a US passport with a valid Belarusian visa or a valid visa-free entry stamp.
1:31 pm The Belarusian security forces are determined to escalate the conflict. They themselves and their former colleagues explain why.
“I did not come to serve in the OMON to play a revolution with teenagers. We will not leave the Belarusian streets, because this is our country and our people, which we will defend.
“Neither I nor my colleagues can be scared off. We will protect the peace for women, old people and children. And if someone believes that a gangster showdown can be run in the very center of Minsk, very soon we will make it clear: the law is one for everyone.” This was the announcement made by riot policemen and aired on the state-run TV channel STV on 13 October.
A one minute video shows two riot policemen. Despite the declared decisiveness, their faces are hidden by balaclavas and their voices changed.
By October, the third month of protests against yet another presidential term of Alexander Lukashenko (sixth in a row), the rhetoric of the Belarusian security officials towards the opposition has become extremely harsh.
The head of the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime, Nikolai Karpenkov, said for the state-run TV channel Belarus-1 that “there were only bandits left on the streets, motivated by alcohol, drugs and money.”
Meanwhile, Gennady Kazakevich, the First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs threatened to use combat weapons against the protesters.
1:45 pm “Moscow is beginning to distance itself from what may happen in Minsk on 25-26 October and after these dates. Apparently, this is how it reacts to the Belarusian authorities’ intention to restore order in the country when the term of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s ultimatum expires. It is important that the Ministry of Internal Affairs first announced the possibility of using firearms back on 12 October, i.e. the day before the ultimatum was issued, believes Igor Leschenya (ex-Ambassador of Belarus to Slovakia).
2:35 pm Utility workers cut down a tall tree to remove a white-red-white flag.
In Smarhon (Grodno region), communal services were unable to remove the white-red-white flag from a tall tree. As a result, the tree was cut down, reports Radio Liberty.
2:45 pm The Women’s March has started in Minsk.
3:04 pm More than 1 million euros!
This is the total amount of payments already made from the BYSOL Solidarity Fund to those who quit or were fired due to political views.
Compensation was received by 623 people and 10 factory strike committees. In total, as reported by the Fund, 1,720 applications were received, of which 878 have already been verified.
At the moment, the funds are normally transferred within 21 days; however, all efforts are put into accelerating the process of transferring compensation, writes Tut.by.
It is all done with a sole purpose – to encourage more people not to be afraid to make the right decision and choose life in a free and democratic Belarus!
3:05 pm The women’s column is passing Yakub Kolas Square and is moving along Independence Avenue towards the Academy of Science.
Around 200 people are walking in the column.
3:22 pm Minsk. The women’s column has turned near the October Theatre and is moving now back toward Yakub Kolas Square.
The participants are chanting “Shame on BT”; they are addressing their message to the Belarusian state TV journalists who are filming the march.
3:39 pm The Women’s March has finished; someone is shouting in the column: “The march is over”.
3:44 pm Andrei Shved, the Prosecutor General, stated:
“White-red-white symbols are not prohibited by law. However, today it is related to protest actions, and in certain circumstances it is associated with illegal actions. By identifying yourself with it and gathering in groups in a certain place, you create potential grounds for breaking the law.”
4:14 pm According to human rights activists, the riot police detained at least 8 people in relation to the Women’s March. The list is being constantly updated.
4:29 pm A celebration of life and freedom in the Altaisky residential district!
The traditional gathering with food, socializing and even live music is taking place with Wagon Buffet music group warming up the autumn atmosphere. Get together and have fun no matter what, friends!
4:39 pm Security police took apart a banner depicting heroes of the most recent events in the country in the Novaya Baravaya district of Minsk, as reported by a @nashaniva reader.
4:48 pm “Moscow is beginning to distance itself from what may happen in Minsk on 25-26 October and after these dates,” asserts Igor Leshchenya, former Belarusian diplomat and Lukashenko’s assistant on international affairs, who was dismissed for his political views, Nasha Niva reports.
At the same time, Moscow can’t see a politician in Belarus that could guarantee Russian interests in the same way as Lukashenko, Leshchenya believes.
On 25 October, the term of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s Ultimatum will expire, after which the opposition is going to move to more drastic actions.
5:07 pm “I am viewing the current situation in the country as a ceremony, a sacred ceremony of the birth of a nation,” says Maksim Belsky, who has produced a very powerful documentary about the first week of protests in Belarus. He collected very moving stories which made the film a must to watch.
5:12 pm Today’s pro-Lukashenko meeting was attended by no more than 20 people.
5:25 pm ❗️ Honest People Initiative has created a “Factory” chat-bot (https://t.me/zavod_by_bot) in support of the strike movement which should become one of the tools of self-organization and mutual support during the strike. With this robot assistance, you can get an objective picture of the protest movement in state-owned enterprises across the country. In the first days, about 4,000 people joined the chat-bot.
Pavel Latushka, a member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council, made a video appeal in support of this project.