Authorities accuse activist helping domestic violence victims of staging women’s marches in Minsk

OMON riot police detain Volha Harbunova. Minsk, 19 September 2020. Photo: AD / Belsat

The reputed Belarusian activist Volha Harbunova is suspected of staging women’s marches in the year of 2020. She was arrested on November 9.

The woman is accused of ‘organising and preparing actions that grossly violate public order’, the press service of the Interior Ministry reports.

“The resident of Minsk has been recognised a suspect in the criminal case instituted for organising and preparing actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them. The defendant is being checked for complicity in other crimes of protest nature, including those with the use of her official position,” the statement reads.

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According to the ministry, it was Volha Harbunova who led the so-called women’s marches in the Belarusian capital city last year; she ‘stepped onto the roadway and blocked the traffic’.

Volha Harbunova has been engaged in providing assistance to victims of domestic violence for more than 18 years. She is the former head of the non-government organisation Radzislava which was established in 2002 in Minsk; their major goals are supporting women and children who have faced abuse; training specialists from various agencies and NGOs who work with victims, their relatives, or abusers; conducting preventive talks with young people about the inadmissibility of violence and so on.

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