Brest: Hundreds protest against hazardous plant

На шэсце супраць акумулятарнага заводу выйшлі некалькі соцень чалавек

Праціўнікі запуску акумулятарнага заводу ў Берасці прайшлі па цэнтральных вуліцах Берасця калонай скандуючы «Нет Заводу!»Шэсце скончылася затрыманнямі, людзі спрабавалі адбіць актывістаў, але не атрымалася.

Opublikowany przez «Белсат» Niedziela, 14 kwietnia 2019

On April 14, the residents of Brest were protesting against getting a battery plant up and running in the city. Again, plainclothes policemen detained the most active participants in the rally.

Over a year ago, Brest residents started protesting against the construction of a hazardous battery factory by the iPower company. Although Brest residents collected almost 40,000 signatures against the construction, the city authorities remain dismissive of the petition and the project has been completed. Every Sunday people hold peaceful protest rallies; in turn, the local police detain the participants as the city authorities outlawed the protests. Until recently, people did not make speeches or chant any slogans – they just feeded pigeons or carry baloons.

Аctivist Zmitser Bekalyuk grants interview to Belsat shortly before detentions
Ales Ablyak, leader of Sunday’s protest.


“The plant is located in the place where it should not have been stationed, i.e. in the centre of a densely populated city.”

“Although we have repeatedly appealed to the Presidential Administration, other governmental and supervisory bodies, there has been no reaction. On the contrary, the authorities started to persecute protesters.”

Protesters marching along Savetskaya street.

Last Friday the police preventively detained ten participants of peaceful protests and put them in the predetention centre; they are facing trials and heavy fines. In early April, a criminal case was initiated against Maisey Mazko, an active opponent of the Ipower battery factory, allegedly for possession of ammunition. Police officers stopped and searched the car in which Mr Mazko, who works as a farm manager at a monastery, was travelling. In his company car they found objects that look like cartridges, and even a briquette of an unknown substance. The police said it was explosives. Human rights activist Raman Kislyak, who was present at the car search, said the case was being fabricated.

“At moments like these, one should not sit out, we should take to the streets and make statements,” Ales Ablyak, who was leading the column of protesters, told Belsat.

protesters trying to protect ales Ablyak.

The initiative group is acting in a lawful manner, the activists stress.

“Our people just want the air in the city to be clean. And they are jailed for that. It is nothing but persecution,” Zmitser Bekalyuk, a member of the initiative group, said.

To prevent the Brest residents from protesting, the local authorities arranged a parade contest among students of military schools in short order; several hundred people were voluntold to take part in the event.

Parade contest ordanised by authorities.

However, more than 200 protesters marched through downtown Brest on Sunday to show their protest against the hazardous plant. Although there was not a single sign of aggressive behaviour, riot policemen were ordered to detain activists; as a result, at least 7 participants in the march, including Ales Ablyak, Zmitser Bekalyuk and Alyaksandr Kabanau, were grabbed and taken to police stations.

The corresponding orders were reportedly given by Mikalai Samasyuk, deputy chief of Leninski district public safety department. In 2018, he threatened protesters with criminal cases and even death.

“Samasyuk promised to have revenge upon me, he threatened me saying that if I failed to quit protests, they would lock me prison or find my body in Mukhavets River. Samasyuk is the worst man in Brest. I fear for my life. If something happens to me, Mikalai Samasyuk and his minions are to be blamed,” activist Kanstantsin Astapuk told in October.

Nevertheless, the locals are set to keep protesting against the hazardous production facility in their city.

For the first time, the locals took part in peaceful protesting on February 25, 2018. Over the past year, people came to the square every Sunday, filed complaints and appeals, collected 40,000 signatures, but the authorities keep ignoring their opinion. Dozens of application for holding a protest rally were turned down; therefore, people gathered in the central square of Brest and fed pigeons, but even in this format, the authorities resorted to repressive measures. Moreover, every appearance of the Belsat journalists is punishable by heavy fines.

The battery plant near the city has been built in the free economic zone Brest by a Chinese corporation. The project was commissioned by the iPower company. It is planned that the plant will have a full cycle of production of lead-acid batteries.

Orwell speechless: Brest court penalizes making snowman, covering protests

See also