Presidential elections rehearsal: authorities quarantine opponents (video)

Having spent 15 days in custody, Anatol Liabedzka, chairman of the United Civic Party of Belarus, has gone at large. Two weeks ago Mr Liabedzka and his associates were detained during a sanctioned election campaign picket in Minsk. The politician believes that repressions during the local elections are nothing but a rehearsal ahead of the presidential elections.

English subs:

{movie}Presidential elections rehearsal: Belarus’s authorities quarantine opponents (ENG subs)|right|15628{/movie}

Arrests of activists in the course of election campaigns are not uncommon in Lukashenka’s Belarus. Anatol Liabedzka was sentenced to 15 days of arrest for his support of candidate for deputy Anton Zhylko. Court charged Mr Liabedzka with violation of holding mass events and attempted beating a representative of pro-government organisation. However, the actual reason was different, the politician says.


‘We started sending messages about Ukraine, political prisoners instead of talking about road holes or roof, and the authorities wanted to prevent us from raising such issues.’

Arrests and fines just prove that activists are on the right way, the party leader states. According to Mr Liabedzka, their spending the election time behind bars showed that there were no real elections in Belarus. Although, they were ready for political struggle, not just serving their terms.


‘This is a prison, and it can be compared only to other prisons … Generally, time is dragging on there while things are humming outside’

In the predetention centre the politician tried to go in for sports but later he fell ill. Its building might have been repaired but the conditions of confinement and arrestees’ body have not drastically changed.

ALES ARESTOVICH, imprisoned ex-presidential candidate Statkevich’s agent:

‘The authorities are getting ready for the 2014 Ice Hockey World Championship. They are likely to mop up drunkards and homeless people first. But it is clear that political actions during the championship should not be ruled out.’

Thus, there is every likelihood that activists will gather to meet their released friends and associates more than once.

Martsin Yarski, In Focus

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