20 September 2020 | Infocenter Free Belarus 2020
8:00 am According to the human rights center “Viasna”, 390 people were detained in Minsk yesterday. A complete list of detainees is available here.
8:15 am Singing is a crime. Last night, Belarusian musician Alexander Pomidor/OFF and vocalist of the Gods Tower Vladislav Novozhilov gave a free concert in one of the quiet corners of Minsk. The exact coordinates of the “stage” were kept secret so that only their own could go there. The musicians were detained shortly after the concert. Today it has been reported that both musicians have been taken from the police station to the detention ward.
8:30 am Independence Square in Minsk is being fenced. Perhaps this is how the government gets ready for today’s march.
9:00 am According to the human rights center “Viasna”, 18 people detained yesterday will remain in custody until the court hearings.
9:15 am “The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus possesses the means and technologies that make it possible to identify and prosecute the overwhelming majority of those responsible for the information leak,” reacted Volha Chamadanava, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic, on the publication of personal data of 1,003 police officers by the Nexta Live Telegram channel.
The channel, in turn, promises to continue publishing the personal information of Belarusian security officials if the law enforcement agencies continue to detain participants at opposition rallies.
9:30 am The youngest deputy of the Minsk city council, Olga Tesakova, has released a video message asking people to withdraw her because she cannot help the citizens.
Olga explained that she had written a note of resignation a month ago, but, according to the current legislation, this is not enough to withdraw a deputy.
“I believe that in the current circumstances, there is no way the agenda of violence committed against civilians may be covered by repairing benches or opening a new kindergarten. Security, the right to be unique, fairness and honesty are the things that shall determine efficiency of a deputy today. […] I admit my failure as a deputy, my inability to help all the innocent victims and detainees suffered during the peaceful rallies and assemblies. If you agree with me, if you believe, as I do, that 2 + 2 = 4 and not 5, you know what to do. Long live Belarus!”
10:00 am Posters of today’s March of Justice have started emerging on social media. The organizers are calling on people all over Belarus to come to the center of their city or town at 2 pm. The slogan of the march: “Won’t forget, won’t forgive”.
10:40 am According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 11 assemblies of protests took place across the country yesterday and the number of participants did not exceed 900 people. A total of 430 people were detained, of whom 385 were released.
10:45 am 310,000 people have already recognized the Coordination Council as a representative of the Belarusian people with the chatbot on the “Golos” (Voice) platform.
10:47 am Military trucks are moving along the streets of Minsk.
11:00 am Almost 1 million rubles have been paid to the people who lost their jobs for political reasons. A total of 1,060 applications have been received by the @BYSOL fund, of which 410 have been verified and 209 applications have been paid, stated Andrei Strizhak on his Telegram channel.
11:26 am Riot police have started gathering on Independence Square in Minsk.
11:30 am All the benches have been dismantled in the Minsk park where Alexander Pomidorov performed yesterday.
Is it a revenge against the park?
11:52 am A message from Maria Kalesnikava to Belarusians has appeared on Viktar Babryka’s Telegram channel.
“Freedom is worth fighting for. Don’t be afraid to be free! I hug and love you. I am truly grateful to family, friends, loved ones and everyone who supports us. I am grateful to the international community and the cultural community for their support and solidarity.
I am happy to be Belarusian. You are incredible! I have no regrets and would have done the same.”
12:00 pm According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 415 people were arrested during the Women’s March on 19 September.
Listeners sent a video to @euroradio, showing how the arrests were conducted. Security officials surrounded the protesters in a circle, and held them until everyone was taken away. The “operation” took about 4 minutes.
12:05 pm At about 12 pm, officers started blocking all entryways to Aleksandrovsky Garden Square, blocking the way to Jan Kupala Theater and the Presidential Administration building behind it. There is also a cordon set up at Independence Square and all its entryways.
12:10 pm Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya gave a lengthy interview to RBC (RosBiznesConsulting, a large Russian media group). She talked about contacts with the European Union, attitudes towards Vladimir Putin, as well as the future of Alexander Lukashenko.
Sviatlana pointed out that what is happening in Belarus today is “not a pro-Western vs. pro-Russian struggle; these are the protests against one particular person whom our people no longer trust or respect, and with whom we no longer want to live and work. This has nothing to do with either Mr Putin or Ukraine, or any other countries.”
12:28 pm Several police buses and at least one Rubezh (assault barrier vehicle) were reported to have been seen in the diplomatic town of Drozdy.
Armored military vehicles were spotted in the backyard of the BelExpo exhibition complex.
12:40 pm A solidarity campaign has started in Italy. In the next 10 days, the community of Belarusians in Italy will publish video messages from Italian politicians and ordinary citizens. Here is the first video.
1:00 pm Workers from the Kozlov Minsk Electrotechnical Plant wrote a collective letter, which they sent to the Council of Ministers and the Supreme Court. The letter lists the usual requirements: Lukashenko’s resignation, new fair elections, release of political prisoners.
1:05 pm The following metro stations have been closed: Lenin Square, Oktyabrskaya, Victory Square, Yakub Kolas Square, and Niamiha.
1:10 pm In the coming days, 30 Belarusian diplomats will be dismissed from the diplomatic service of the Republic of Belarus. The reasons for the dismissal, Pavel Latushka writes in his Telegram channel, are “employees declaring their opposition to election fraud and the riot police’s acts of violence against peaceful protesters on their personal social media accounts, and also because of their refusal to falsify the election results.”
Latushka calls this dismissal a “purge” of the Belarusian diplomatic corps, and thanks his colleagues for their civic position.
1:20 pm Streets in the center of Minsk are being actively blocked.
1:55 pm In Minsk, a van with tinted windows drove up to the courtyard at 12 Zaslavskaya Street (house opposite the Obelisk).
2:12 pm After the personal data of 1,000 OMON officers (name, date of birth, position) were published yesterday on the Nexta Telegram channel, around 200 security officials turned to BYSOL with a request to remove them from the list, saying they are ready to leave law enforcement. This was announced by Yaroslav Likhachevsky, CEO of the DeepDee startup and the BYSOL solidarity fund representative, on the Dozhd TV channel.
“De-anonymization of the security forces is a very powerful tool to influence them,” explained Yaroslav.
2:20 pm Streams of people flow continuously to the shopping mall “Gallery” in Niamiha. Near the shopping mall, riot police and prisoner transporters stand on duty.
2:27 pm Readers of the Telegram channel @motokohelp report that the usual arrests have started: small groups of people are being arrested in the yards of residential districts. From one to three people get arrested, and the rest are dispersed. The focus is on people bearing national symbols.
2:40 pm Single arrests have started in Minsk: a man with a flag was put in a prisoner transporter near the Palace of Sports.
2:45 pm The March of Justice has started in Homel. Police and OMON were already waiting at the gathering point.
2:48 pm At around 2:35 pm, problems with mobile internet began in Minsk. This was reported by users and confirmed by the mobile network operator.
According to A1, this happened “following the order of authorized state bodies”.
2:50 pm Belsat journalists Alina Skrabunova and Aleksandr Sidorevsky were arrested in Mahiliou, the Belarusian Journalist Association reports.
3:00 pm Numerous groups of people are moving along Timiryazev and Kalvariyskaya streets, Pushkin Avenue towards the city center, thousands of protesters have gathered near the Minsk Hero City Monument, as reported by @nashaniva.
3:01 pm In Vitsebsk, about three hundred people are marching in a column along Frunze Avenue.
A large crowd of protesters has gathered in the town Salihorsk, chanting “Soligorsk, come out!”
3:05 pm Demonstrators have blocked Pobediteley Avenue near the Minsk Hero City Monument. The authorities are blasting a pro-regime propaganda song, “You don’t just give up your beloved” [“beloved” meaning Belarus – Proofreader’s note], at full volume. According to eyewitnesses, the sound quality was terrible.
3:05 pm A protest march is taking place in Hrodna. About 5,000 people have taken to the streets. It was reported that a woman in an advanced state of pregnancy was detained by the police and released a while later.
3:10 pm In Homel, demonstrators broke through the OMON (riot police) cordon.
3:17 pm Sporadic detentions of protesters continue across the country.
3:20 pm Protesters have occupied Pobediteley Avenue in Minsk.
3:25 pm Almost the entire center of Minsk, as well as part of Pobediteley Avenue, is closed to car traffic.
3:30 pm There are already tens of thousands of people near the Minsk Hero City Monument, with more arriving.
3:32 pm There are a lot of people at rallies in Homel, Brest, Vitsebsk and Zhodzina; smaller rallies are taking place in Kobryn, Smarhon, Babruysk, Mahiliou, Pinsk, Vaukavysk, Salihorsk, Lida, Navapolatsk.
3:38 pm Two columns of thousands of people each have merged near the Minsk Hero City Monument; people are marching towards the Palace of Independence.
3:46 pm People have occupied the entire Masherov Avenue, and keep coming to the Minsk Hero City Monument; the number of demonstrators is already comparable to the previous weekly marches. The signature feature is perhaps a large number of newly designed flags of city districts.
3:52 pm According to unofficial information, the “Khoroshki” ensemble refused to perform at a concert for the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
4:12 pm From Ignatenko Street, the Minsk march turned to Timiryazev – Ignatenko Street was blocked by security forces and assault barrage security enforcement vehicles (called “Rubezh”).
4:16 pm In Brest, OMON (riot police) used gas against protesters and began brutal arrests.
4:26 pm In Minsk, the head of the procession is moving towards the city center.
4:31 pm In Minsk, the crowd of protesters has split up into two parts – one went towards the University of Physical Education, the other towards Frunzenskaya metro station.
4:34 pm A rally of solidarity with Belarus took place in Kiev. About a hundred participants marched from the center of Kiev to the Belarusian embassy.
4:43 pm In Minsk, the head of the procession reached the intersection of the Gorodskoy Val and Internatsionalnaya and stopped upon reaching a cordon of security forces with shields. People turned back.
4:51 pm Mass media have reported more than 100,000 participants of the March of Justice in Minsk.
4:54 pm The security forces have pulled water cannons into Volodarskogo Street in Minsk.
5:05 pm According to @motolkohelp Telegram channel, the crowd of protesters in Minsk is so large that it took more than 40 minutes for it to pass the “Korona” shopping center.
5:09 pm In Brest, there have been violent clashes between demonstrators and OMON (riot police). One of the officers fired into the air. A few moments later, the police were forced to retreat under the onslaught of protesters.
5:31 pm The press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs officially recognized the use of tear gas against peaceful demonstrators in Brest. According to the Ministry, this was done “to contain the protesters”. It was not specified why exactly they should be contained.
5:34 pm Mass arrests have begun on Bogdanovich Street in Minsk, Belsat reports.
The route of the protesters’ column in Minsk became unpredictable. Tens of thousands of people are playing cat-and-mouse with the security forces. It seems that the demonstrators themselves do not know where they will head in the next moment, @Onliner reports.
5:46 pm Nasha Niva news outlet estimates the number of participants in today’s March of Justice in Minsk at 150,000 people.
5:54 pm According to the human rights center “Viasna”, 59 people have been detained today: 29 in Minsk and 30 in the regions. The arrests in Brest and Hrodna were particularly brutal. Famous Belarusian historian Professor Ales Smalyanchuk was detained in Hrodna. The list is constantly updated, as the rally is still ongoing, and the favorite tactic of the Belarusian security forces is to detain people heading home from the march.
6:00 pm A column of demonstrators was blocked by security forces using water cannons and specialized “Rubezh” assault barrier security vehicles on one section of Independence Avenue in Minsk. People near the police cordon are chanting “He will drop you.”
6:10 pm The security forces are pushing people off the avenue, and beating their shields. Part of the group of demonstrators was cut off on Kazlova Street. Masked men in green uniforms without any insignia have started dividing demonstrators into separate groups and blocking entrances to the courtyards. The water cannons are moving right on the sidewalks, and a large number of riot police trucks are behind the line of the security forces.
6:15 pm Some demonstrators stood together linking arms, and started moving along Independence Avenue, but then decided to return to the security cordon. Athletes are at the head of the column, chanting “The people are the champions.”
6:22 pm Arrests have started around Kazlova Street, in central Minsk.
6:28 pm One of the water cannons broke down, spilling a large orange puddle around it. The security forces are trying to fix it.
6:30 pm The protesters are leaving the security cordon and moving towards Yakub Kolas Square. Having seen the crowd of demonstrators, residents have started opening the entrances of apartment buildings along Independence Avenue.
6:42 pm About 20 people have been arrested near the “Moscow-Vienna” shopping center, many of them walking towards the metro to go home.
In the courtyard near the TsUM department store, a loudspeaker (normally used for civil defense) was broadcasting the message: “Citizens, we ask you to disperse, you are violating the law, do not force us to use restraints!”
6:49 pm Minsk. The march is over, people are folding up their flags and leaving.
Brest. The demonstration has also ended, and people are going home.
7.00 pm Predictably, the Internet has started working again, as the Justice March is over.
7:05 pm Nasha Niva reports that 5 riot police officers and 2 policemen arrived today in one of the villages near Salihorsk to detain a local resident who had a national flag displayed in his courtyard.
7:08 pm The security forces continue to detain people who are going home in small groups.
@euroradio’s correspondent reports that some demonstrators have turned from Yakub Kolas Square to a side street, and were immediately followed by a police transport vehicle.
Men in black without insignia are hunting around near the Philharmonic Hall and arresting people.
A TUT.BY journalist witnessed a young couple who were simply walking by the Philharmonic, when riot police ran up, grabbing them and dragging them into police minibuses. They violently twisted the young man’s arm behind his back.
Onliner readers report detentions near the Academy of Sciences.
7:20 pm Human rights organization Viasna has added 90 people to the list of detainees, including 46 people detained in the regions, and 44 in Minsk.
The list is constantly being updated.
7:20 pm Viktar Babaryka’s headquarters’ press service has reported that a hearing based on a complaint filed by Maria Kalesnikava’s defense attorney is scheduled for 21 September. The complaint was in regards to Kalesnikova’s detention.
7:39 pm Police have detained about 10 people near the Embassy of Belarus in central Moscow. Around one hundred protesters have gathered across the street from the Belarusian diplomatic mission. Police arrested several protesters, but released some of them, including the Belarusian singer Angelica Agurbash, after checking their documents.
Protesters have been gathering outside the Belarusian Embassy almost every day since 9 August.
7:40 pm According to Belapan, over 100,000 protesters in Minsk took part in the March of Justice.
7:52 pm Oleg Moiseyev, a confidant of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, was detained during today’s march in Minsk.
8:05 pm Demonstrations of solidarity with Belarus were held today in many countries: Norway, Austria, South Korea, Italy, Belgium, France, Ukraine, New Zealand, and Poland
8:47 pm The Telegram channel Nexta Live has again published the personal data of approximately one thousand employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Today’s list mostly included officers from Brest and the Brest region, where the detentions of peaceful protesters were particularly brutal during today’s March of Justice.
9:25 pm Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya spoke about today’s March of Justice on her Telegram channel. She stressed that the number of people who had taken to the streets today suggested that the protests will continue throughout the country.
“Every Belarusian in his country has the right to be a free citizen. Every security officer has the right not to obey orders to use force against his own people,” she wrote.
9:40 pm According to State Secretary of the Union State Grigory Rapota, Russia and Belarus intend to intensify their work preparing a series of roadmaps aimed at integrating the two countries under the Union State.
9:53 pm Journalist Denis Borshch detained earlier today during the March of Justice was sent to the detention center in Zhodino.
Borshch was detained near the Palace of Independence while filming the protest.
10:22 pm Belarusian doctors and medical workers recorded a video message: “We are against violence and deception. Over 1,800 have already joined us”.
10:25 pm According to Viasna human rights organization, 232 people were detained in Belarus in total today, including 163 in Minsk.
The list is being continually updated.