Ahead of Freedom Day demonstration: Police hunting for activists

A nephew of Belarusian-born Mikhail Zhyzneuski, who was killed in Kyiv on January 22, has been visited by police and contacted by the local council over his plans to participate in a Freedom Day (‘Dzien Voli’) demonstration in Minsk on March 25.

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. The current regime denies Freedom Day and often prevents the opposition forces from celebrating it. This year opposition is going to hold the Freedom Day demonstration and rally in solidarity with Ukraine.

19-year-old Pavel Zhyzneuski, a resident of Homel, was visited by police officers, Andrey Tsianyuta, co-chairman of opposition organisation Young Front, told news agency BelaPAN. Later in the day, the young man left for the village of Rohin in Buda Kashalyova district, where his mother lives.

‘Pavel plans to participate in the Freedom Day demonstration in Minsk, which will mark 96 years since the proclamation of the 1918 Belarusian National Republic (BNR) and be a display of support for the people of Ukraine,’ Mr Tsianyuta said. ‘Today he has got a phone call from the local soviet. The caller asked on why he wanted to go to Minsk. Authorities try to prevent Pavel from attending the demonstration, and yet his presence there is important.’

Mikhail ‘Loki’ Zhyzneuski, who would have had his 26th birthday on January 26, left Belarus in 2005 and lived in the city of Bila Tserkva near Kyiv. He was killed on the morning of January 22 in Hrushevskoho Street. ‘My son wanted peace in the world and always tried to do good,’ his mother Nina told Belsat TV.

Mr Zhyzneuski was an activist of Ukrainian organisation UNA-UNSO (The Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self-Defense).

He was buried near the village of Znamya Pracy (Flag of Labour), Homel region. Ukraine’s authorities promised to recognise him as Hero of Maidan.


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