Yesterday the Belarusians celebrated Freedom Day (Dzien Voli): a demonstration and a rally in Minsk were being held under the banner of solidarity with Ukraine and condemning Russian aggression.
Some 2,000 persons were participating in the action. A lot of them were hoisting national white-red-white flags and chanting ‘Long live Belarus!’ and ‘Glory to Ukraine!’
When the semonstration was drawing to the close, seven activists (Maksim Viniarsky, Siarhei Maskoy, Alena Lazarchyk, Ulad Barodka, Leanid Kulakou) were grabbed by police.
Freedom Day is an unofficial holiday in Belarus, which is celebrated on March 25 to commemorate the creation on that date in 1918 of the Belarusian Democratic Republic (BNR). It came into existence at the end of the First World War, when Bolshevik forces left Minsk and the city was occupied by German troops. On March 25, 1918 the Provisional Government (Rada) proclaimed the independence of the BNR. After the Red Army re-entered Minsk, the Communist government replaced the Rada; its members had to emigrate. The current regime denies Freedom Day and often prevents the opposition forces from celebrating it.