I Was Being Lucky. Mikalai: ‘I was ordered to take off T-shirt and wipe puddle of my own blood’

In 2020, Belarus became a country with thousands of detained, beaten, tortured people. In its project ‘I Was Being Lucky’, Belsat TV tells the stories of 21 Belarusians who suffered police brutality.

Minsker Mikalai Bondar is one of those who were pulled out of the car by the police. When his car stopped at the traffic lights, a law enforcement officer noticed a white ribbon on Mikalai’s wrist. A man in a traffic police uniform ordered him to stop, and six other officers were already walking towards the car. Mikalai decided to save the passengers who were with him, drove a few meters away and let them run away. The man was mercilessly beaten for this act.

The riot police (OMON) smashed headlights and windows, pierced wheels. One riot policeman took out his phone and started filming with the words: “Say, ‘I love OMON!’ It seemed to the man that they had a closed group in some social media where they uploaded such videos and bragged to each other.

Мikalai Bondar. Photo: Belsat

He was put in a minibus and continued to be beaten with shouts: “Why don’t you respect the traffic police!” Then they were transferred to a police carrier. People were already lying face down on the floor, they were also periodically beaten. Mikalai’s blood did not stop. A large red stain appeared on the floor, and Mikalai was ordered to take off his clothes and wipe his blood. Then the man and the other detainees had to run through a living corridor to another carrier going to Akrestsin Street. Mikalai tried to stop the bleeding, and for a while he succeeded.

They were ordered to run out of the carrier singing the anthem, then again they ran through the same living corridor. They were put on their knees and ordered to tilt their heads. Mikalai realized that he was losing consciousness, for which he was beaten with a truncheon. One policeman allowed the man to raise his head.

The riot policeman approached immediately: “Who allowed it? Face to the floor!”, and hit him a couple of times on the back.

The man sank into the ground again and began to tear the grass and shove it in his nose to somehow stop the blood. He felt bad again, and one of the policemen allowed him to straighten up. Seven minutes later, the same riot policeman approached him and started beating him on the head. Mikalai tried to cover himself with his arm, but in vain.

Mikalai regained consciousness in an ambulance on the territory of Akrestsin Street. The door to the car was open, a riot policeman was standing nearby, saying to the ambulance worker: “Well, you brought him back to consciousness? Give him here.” But she said she was taking the patient with her.

Drawing by Mikalai Bondar, photo: Belsat

At the hospital the doctor, seeing Mikalai, exclaimed: “Were you hit by a train?!” After the examination the man went home. He refused to be hospitalised, but stayed at home for almost two more weeks to recover.

Get acquainted with our interviewees and read their stories here.