"Silent" Action in Minsk Resulted in Mass Arrests

23.06.2011 10:12

The second time this week staff of the Belarusian police and special forces has blocked access to Kastrychnitsklaya Square in Minsk, where users of social networks planned to hold the action of silent solidarity against the economic policies of the country's authorities. The police explained that "regime activities" would be carried out on the square, thus making it impossible to appear within this area.

20:35. People in Niamiha dispersed, police buses left. The police officers got into the paddy wagon and also left. The street became quiet.

20:23. Police completely mopped up Kastrychnitsklaya Square, as well as the nearest approaches to it, and lifted the cordon.

20:18. Motorists, passing Niamiha, were honking. People gathered at the stairs of the Trade House «At Nemiga,» as well as in an open area on the second floor. Motorists’ honking was supported by people’s applause. The police arrived. People began to disperse in the yards, the police followed them. Two police buses and two UAZ special buses in blue and white colors stopped next to a bus stop.

According to Telegraf correspondent, the buses had already been packed with the arrested earlier people (there was about a dozen people in one of them) together with the police. A paddy wagon arrived at the bus stop. Detentions were launched. At least six people were detained.

20:09. The action continues, despite the arrests. People moved from the supermarket «Central» to the General Department Store (GUM) and Niamiha side streets. Another part of the protesters was pushed toward Yanka Kupala park. Detention continues as well, no mass arrests.

According to Telegraf correspondent, people clapping near the entrance to the subway by the memorial. Passing motorists were honking.

Later people gathered again in the street near the Niamiha Trading house «At Nemiga» at the adjacent intersection and near the bridge. Policemen and traffic police arrived, people were driven away in the direction of the Trinity suburb and McDonald’s, located at Niamiha. Police detained several people, including girls.

19:40. On the basis of negotiations amonge the police on the radio, about 150 people had already been arrested, reports the Belarusian service of Radio «LibertyBelaPAN videographer and a journalist of the agency «Interfax-Zapad» were among the detainees as well.

Detainees were to be taken to remand center in Akrestsina street,  a law enforcement officer reported to RIA «Novosti.»

Detentions provoked protests, but people were still not shouting any slogans. Someone threw a carton of milk at policemen.

19:20. Special Forces began to detain protesters at Kastrychnitsklaya Square. According to witnesses, about 25 people were detained hard. About 2000 people came out onto the square in total.

19:10. People who had gathered by the supermarket «Central» were pushed by the special forces to McDonald’s. A few hundred people had gathered in the area of Kastrychnitsklaya Square and either sides of Independence Avenue. Cars were honking, people were clapping.
акция на Октябрьской 22 июня.jpgFoto: Twitter @ mixal_by

18:50. Numerous groups of young people began to gather around McDonald’s fast-food restaurant. The police politely asked the participants to disperse. The passage to Lenin Street from Prospect of winners had been blocked, letting only public transport pass.

18:44. Police closed access to «Kastrychnitsklaya» and «Kupalovskaya» subway stations. The trains were passing them by without stopping. Oleh Hruzdzilovich, a journalist of the Belarusian service of Radio «Liberty» was detained at ​​Kastrychnitsklaya Square. Traffic police redirecting all the cars from Independence Avenue onto the adjacent streets, giving the way only to the public transport.

The access to Liberty Square is also denied. As explained by the police, this is due to the event with Mayor Nikolai Ladutko, hold in the town hall.

Extreme left lane of Independence Avenue was blocked from Kastrychnitsklaya Square, as well as the extreme left lane in the opposite direction.

There were paddy wagons together with law enforcement officers in civil clothes in the yards around Kastrychnitsklaya Square.

Members of the «revolution in social networking» in «VKontakte» network urged supporters to come to Kastrychnitsklaya Square at 19:00 on June 22 like a week ago to express the silent protest without any slogans and political symbols. Police have warned potential participants about the unauthorized nature of the action.