Any unauthorised mass event will be clamped down quickly and effectively, Belarusian Interior Minister told state-run TV station Belarus 1.
As reported earlier, Belarus president Alyaksandr Lukashenka ordered Shunevich to quell any rally ‘which interferes with people’s lives’ at once.
Moreover, the Belarusian leader instructed him not to pay attention to criticism from the European Union and the United States. According to Lukashenka, mess and disorder begin with such events.
“We don’t want to give rise to the situation Western nations have to live with now, he said.
In an interview with Belarus 1, Shunevich promised to fulfil the presidential order.
“No event unauthorised by the authorities will happen. If it still starts, it will be terminated very quickly, effectively, on the basis of existing legislation,” he stressed.
“The Ministry of Internal Affairs is one of the most important tools the authorities have to restore order in the country. And we will grow stronger in the future, as well as our state. Of course, now we pose a real threat to those who create the risks, challenges in our country,” Shunevich added.
According to the Belarusian human rights community, police officers detained at least 110 people on March 25. The response of the Belarusian authorities to the events on Belarus’ unofficial Freedom Day was disproportionate, the EU said on Monday.
In late February, Minsk authorities allowed to hold a Freedom Day concert and a rally next to the Opera and Ballet Theatre, but banned the applicants from marching. However, several politicians submitted another application for holding a march on the occasion at Minsk city executive committee, but failed to give any approval.
As reported earlier, the authorities preventively detained politicians who were about to hold a march on March 25. Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu and Maxim Vinyarski will spend 10 days in prison; Vyachaslau Siuchyk – 5 days. Riot policemen made activist Yauhen Afnahel leave his place after threatening to storm the house. Although politician Mikalai Statkevich had not left his house for several days, the police grabbed him on Sunday morning. On Thursday, activists of the BPF Youth were detained when distributing invitations to the concert authorised by Minsk authorities.
After the concert, the authorities unexpectedly released Statkevich, Afnahel, Siuchyk, Vinyarski and Nyaklyayeu. According to the organisers, about 50,000 people attended the Independence feast.
March 25, 2018 was be the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the Belarusian People’s 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. For many years, Lukashenka regime has been slamming and even persecuting those who pay the tribute to the BNR.