Belarusian students protest first time in decade: ‘Call Rector on red carpet!’


Today a group of students of the Belarusian State University (BSU) have held the protest action ‘Love and Solidarity’ in Minsk.

They were protesting against the decision to introduce fees for repeating exams and tests.

The first participants appeared around 12.50 at Mikhailovsky public garden situated in the vicinity of the BSU main building. Ten minutes before the scheduled start of the action the turnout was not good – there were only a few protesters but many journalists and police officers in plain clothes.

However, the students arrived every minute. When their number was about 50, they started marching to the inner courtyard of the university. That was hardly a surprise that police officers were escorting them and filming the course of events. The policemen also took several posters from demonstrators.

A bit later it turned out that the students were barred from entering their university for unknown reasons. Security guards stood in their way; it even came to an encounter. The protesters yielded and headed to the main entrance located in Independence Square. It is noteworthy that the entrance turned was taped off in advance and the door was locked from inside.

The demonstrators decided to wait for the Rector. To welcome him, they even laid a red carpet.

Unfortunately, BSU Rector Syarhei Ablameyka failed to accept the invitation.

The students wanted to call him to the map and chanted “Rector – onto the carpet!”

But it was only university staff and students who were looking out of the windows in response. Meanwhile, many students said on social media that the authorities were calling the register:

“LOL, they entered the classroom, counted all and ordered to bring a list of absentees to the dean’s office within 5 minutes!”

The protesters were waiting for the Rector till 14.00. When it became clear that Mr Ablameyka had no intention to talk to them, they began to leave. According to the estimation of Human Rights Center Viasna, about 90 persons took part in the action. The amount of policemen reportedly reached 35. Moreover, it was not possible to count plaincloth officers.

According to the latest information, no one was detained. To prevent the police from grabbing the participants, the reporters present were accompanying them on their way to a metro station.

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