Mother Language Day: activist protests against Russianization
Belarusian sculptor Henadz Loyka was detained near Minsk Gymnasium No 4 after picketing in support of the Belarusian language.
According to his sister Valiantsina Loyka, the activist was taken to Frunzenski District Directorate of Interior. But when his wife Alena came there she was told that Mr Loyka was not being kept in the Directorate.
Henadz Loyka’s only “fault” was that he unfolded the banner which said, “Greetings on Mother Language Day! Gymnasium No. 4 was the last one where Belarusian was the language of instruction.” The 50-year-old Loyka told reporters that Belarus’ education system was becoming Russianized. The charter of Gymnasium No. 4 had been amended to allow the staff to teach children in Russian, he said.
While the demonstration was still in progress, Deputy Headmaster Alena Nikalaychyk came out of the building and warned Mr. Loyka, whose daughter studies at the gymnasium, that the event was unsanctioned.
Henadz Loyka is a Belarusian sculptor, teacher and civil society activist. He was an author of famous plain-airs “The Sand Legend” which resulted in giant statues made of sand (“Mindoug’s Crown”, “St. John’s prayer”, “The lion’s grave. Masheka”, “Keystut loaded with chains” and many others.
Some years ago he lost his job as a techer of plastic arts and drawing at school No 185 by reason of “drawing children into politics”.