Belsat TV reporter Katsyaryna Andreyeva and cameraman Syarhei Kavaliou were arrested in Yakub Kolas Square in the run-up to the scheduled march on the occasion of the 100th annivarsary of Belarus’ nationhood proclamation.
The duo was about to livestream the event which had not been authorised by Minsk authorities.
Andreyeva and Kavaliou were driven away in a blue minibus; our colleagues were livestreaming. But later they were put into a paddy wagon. Since 11:49 (Minsk time) they have not been in touch with editors.
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 started to preventively detain politicians who were about to hold a march on March 25, Belarus’ unofficial Freedom Day. 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. Politician Mikalai Statkevich has been staying at home for several days so that the police could not grab him. On Thursday, activists of the BPF Youth were detained when distributing invitations to the concert authorised by Minsk authorities.
March 25, 2018 will 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.
(UPD) As of 17:00 Minsk time, the police have released all Belsat TV contributors detained before the Freedom Day celebration.