The whole world has celebrated Freedom Day with Belarus; Baltic states added 118 government officials to their sanctions list; the European Union demands the release of the Union of Poles members and all other political prisoners
25 March 2021 | Voice of Belarus
Belarusians have celebrated Freedom Day despite the unprecedented pressure
Belarusians started celebrating the national holiday Freedom Day the day before. Fireworks went off in many Minsk neighborhoods at 23:34 (11:34 pm) on 24 March. Number 23.34 stands for Article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offenses: since the beginning of the protests, the majority of detainees were prosecuted under this article.
And in the morning, city buildings were decorated with national flags.
The authorities, fearing any citizens’ activity, have brought an unprecedented amount of military equipment to Minsk.
Searches and detentions of activists took place in the morning all over the country. 4 people were detained in Babruisk. The Belaruskali strike committee informed about the detention of activist Ina Haieuskaya in Salihorsk. Activists Illia Mironau and Ihar Krauchanka were detained in Homel.
At least 6 people were detained in Minsk. One of the detainees is Dzianis Urbanovich, a leader of the opposition youth movement Young Front.
As soon as people started to take it to the streets in the afternoon, swift detentions of anyone who could be seen began. For example, one of the videos of the protest symbol Nina Bahinskaya giving an interview also captured a brutal detention of a photographer.
In the evening, a big traffic jam formed on the central avenue of Minsk. Drivers were honking and passers-by were showing the hand signals symbolizing protest.
In several Minsk neighborhoods, people managed to march in small groups.
White and red flowers were placed at the memorial to Aliaksandr Taraikouski, the first victim of the protests.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, more than 200 people were detained today.
The day ended with numerous fireworks all over the country.
The whole world has celebrated Freedom Day with Belarus
People from dozens of countries around the world joined the Freedom Day celebration. White-red-white flags were displayed in Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Turkey, Canada, Japan, the USA, as well as other countries. Words of support were heard from tens of thousands of people.
One of the largest celebrations took place in Vilnius. There a huge flag was unfurled and the fireworks went off. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya led the procession.
MEPs also unfurled a white-red-white flag in the parliament building and then joined the celebration of Freedom Day with the Belarusians of Belgium.
The European Union demanded the immediate release of Andżelika Borys, Andrzej Poczobut and all other political prisoners
The European Union reacted to the detention of Andżelika Borys and Andrzej Poczobut. The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said that the EU had witnessed further escalation of the repressions against Belarusian people, including organized campaigns against human rights defenders, journalists, and civil society in Belarus. “Recent events have shown that the Union of Poles in Belarus has also become the target of such a policy,” said Borrell.
Andżelika Borys, Chairperson of the unregistered Union of Poles in Belarus, was detained and sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest. The prosecutor’s office opened a criminal case against her. She faces up to 12 years in prison.
Previously, an event at the Polish social school of scouts named after Romuald Traugutt in Brest became the reason for initiating a similar case on 10 March.
On Thursday, 25 March, searches were carried out in the apartment of Andrzej Poczobut, a Hrodna-based journalist and one of the Union of Poles’ leaders in Belarus. The editorial offices of the newspaper Głos znad Niemna and magazine Magazyn Polski, which are published by the organization, were searched as well.
The Baltic states have published another sanctions list: it contains 118 names of Belarusian security officials
Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs decided to ban 118 Belarusian citizens from entering Latvia for an indefinite period of time. The decision was agreed upon by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Estonia and Lithuania.
The national travel ban was imposed on the Internal Affairs and justice sector employees as well as representatives of regional administrations.