A group of workers driving a custom vehicle arrived at Victory Square in Minsk to take the historical white-red-white flag off the window in the flat of Belsat TV journalist Vitaut Siuchyk.
“The men armed with a saw shouted: ‘Take it off!’ They are scared of the Belarusian flag. That is what they called independence…” Siuchyk said.
According to the workers, one is not allowed to hang out a ‘non-state’ flag. The journalist managed to prevent them from seizing the flag; now he is waiting for their leave to show the flag again.
After Saturday’s concert in Hrodna, Minsk picked up the torch of celebrations of the 101st anniversary of the Belarusian People’s Republic (BNR).
Freedom Day (Dzień Voli) is an unofficial holiday in Belarus, which is celebrated on March 25 to commemorate the creation on that date in 1918 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. The Lukashenka regime denies Freedom Day and often prevents the opposition forces from celebrating it.
The emblem Pahonya (Pursuit) and the white-red-white flag were symbols of the Belarusian National Republic. Historical Belarusian symbols were official until the 1995 referendum, when on the tip from Alyaksandr Lukashenka they were replaced by the Soviet ones, an emblem that bears a close resemblance to that of the BSSR and a red and green flag which was introduced in Stalin’s time.