‘Grannies against violence’: Pensioners’ March in Minsk and regions

On Monday, several hundred senior citizens have taken to Minsk streets to protest against police violence.

A day earlier, around 100,000 people showed up at the March of Honour in the Belarusian capital and other cities and towns. According to human rights centre Viasna, over 600 persons were detained throughout Belarus. The participants in Sunday’s March were facing inexorable pressure from siloviki: water cannons, tear gas, flashbang grenades, rubber bullets were used against them.

10th protest Sunday in row: Thousands of participants in Minsk (photos)

The protesters gathered at about 3 pm in Independence Square in Minsk. Chanting ‘This is our city!’, ‘Lukashenka, step down!’, ‘We believe, we can, we will win! and other slogans, they formed a column and began to move along the main avenue of the capital.

Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu
Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu

Policemen and siloviki wearing olive-coloured uniform without any insignia were present at the gathering place from the very beginning of the rally.

Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu
Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu

The participants were holding national symbols, flowers, white-red-white umbrellas; passing cars hooted in solidarity.

Kp.by photographer Svyataslau Zorki was detained when he was covering the march. Several elderly protesters managed to fight back at least two media workers, our journalist reported from the scene.

Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu
Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu
Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu
Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu
Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu

Seniors in Hrodna, Lida and Brest were also taking part in protests today. In the video below, Brest residents chant: “Minsk, we stand with you!”

BelaPAN correspondents Maryna Kharevich and Syarhei Lyudkevich were prevented from performing their professional duties in Hrodna; a bit later, local siloviki started detaining protesting pensioners there:

TASS photo journalist Natalia Fedosenko was detained in Minsk at about 3.50 pm.

Meanwhile, the column reached Kastrychnitskaya Square and Victory Square. Some women took homemade bakery to the march; they wanted to treat linguistics students whose participation in September’s protests was widely reported. Minsk State Linguistic University is located in the vicinity of Victory Square.

At about 4 pm, police blocked Independence Avenue from the side of Yakub Kolas Square. The column which thousands joined was escorted by police vans.

Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu
Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu
Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu
Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu
Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu
Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu
‘Freedom! Article 33.35′.Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu
Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu
Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu
Pensioners’ March in Minsk. 12 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu

In Yakub Kolas Square, women were reeling and singing Belarusian folk song Kupalinka:

Protesters left posters and flowers at the monument to prominent Belarusian writer Yakub Kolas:

 

At about 5.30 pm the protesters reached one of the buildings on the Belarusian State Technical University, where they were greeted by students. At that moment, siloviki started detaining people; seniors surrounded the police vans to prevent them from grabbing the youngsters.

Witnesses report the policemen’s using fireworks and flashbang grenades against the protesters, but the Interior Ministry has not confirmed the information yet.

A number of participants in the march were teargassed.

After the incident, about 300 persons continued marching along Independence Avenue.

Legendary Belarusian activist Nina Bahinskaya holding white-red-white flag. Minsk, 12 October 2020. Photo: belsat.eu

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