‘I am going out’: March of Brave People taking place in Belarus

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The March of Brave People kicked off at 12.00 (local time) in Minsk.

Part of its participants gathered at Pushkinskaya metro station (the place where Alyaksandr Taraykouski, the first victim amid post-election protests, was killed on August, 10) and marched to the improvised Square of Change from which Minsker Raman Bandarenka was abducted by unindentified persons. Notably, he was sent to hospital by the Minsk police; on November 12, the man slipped into a coma and died of severe head injuries.

On November 11, plainclothes people arrived at the popular offstreet yard known as ‘Square of Change’ and started to remove white and red ribbons (i.e. symbols in protesters’ colours) fastened on the fences. Raman Bandarenka, who resided in a block of flats not far from it, went out and asked what was going on. Bandarenka was put into a van and driven in an unknown direction.

The last words that Bandarenka said on a local TG chat were ‘I am going out.’ Showing up at today’s march is also paying tribute to the deceased Belarusian, the protesters say.

‘He was drunk’: Lukashenka comments on Bandarenka’s death

Early in the morning, a number of operators officially confirmed that the mobile Internet capacity had been reduced by order of the city authorities. Over a dozen metro stations, including central ones, were closed off.

Dispersing protesters at Pushkinskaya metro station. Brave People March in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: АВ / Vot Tak TV
Dispersing protesters at Pushkinskaya metro station. Brave People March in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: АВ / Vot Tak TV
Dispersing protesters at Pushkinskaya metro station. Brave People March in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: АВ / Vot Tak TV
Dispersing protesters at Pushkinskaya metro station. Brave People March in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: АВ / Vot Tak TV

At the very beginning of the march, the riot police demanded its participants near Pushkinskaya metro station show their phones’ content, i.e. what Telegram groups they subscribed to.

Dispersing protesters at Pushkinskaya metro station. Brave People March in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: TASS / Forum
Dispersing protesters at Pushkinskaya metro station. Brave People March in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: TASS/Forum
Dispersing protesters at Pushkinskaya metro station. Brave People March in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: TASS/Forum
Dispersing protesters at Pushkinskaya metro station. Brave People March in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: TASS/Forum

At the popular protest spot, pro-government forces used flashbang grenades against protesters and sprayed them with some foamy liquid. A woman was wounded in her leg with a flashbang grenade splinter.

Dispersing protesters. Brave People March in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: АВ / Vot Tak TV
Dispersing protesters. Brave People March in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: АВ / Vot Tak TV
Dispersing protesters. Brave People March in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: АВ / Vot Tak TV

Troops were brutally detaining people in offstreet yards.

MMarch of Brave People in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: TASS/Forum
March of Brave People in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: TASS/Forum
March of Brave People in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: TASS/Forum
March of Brave People in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: TASS/Forum
March of Brave People in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: TASS/Forum

March of Brave People in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: TASS/Forum
March of Brave People in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: TASS/Forum
March of Brave People in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: TASS/Forum
‘I am going out!’ March of Brave People in Minsk. 15 November 2020. Photo: TASS/Forum

Meanwhile, another significant protest spot of today was not ignored by the authorities either. Policemen, internal troops, military as well as water cannons and prison trucks were pulled in to Square of Change in Charvyakou Street where people gathered to honour memory of Raman Bandarenka. Flashbang grenades and allegedly rubber bullets were applied to intimidate and disperse protesters, but then the forces retreated for a while.

Troops vs protesters. Yard in Charvyakou Str commonly known as Square of Change. 15 November 2020. Photo: Radio Svaboda
Square of Change before crackdown. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: TK / Belsat
‘Murderers rule the country’. Square of Change before crackdown. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: TK / Belsat
Square of Change before crackdown. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: TK / Belsat
Square of Change before crackdown. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: TK / Belsat

Square of Change before crackdown. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: TK / Belsat
Square of Change before crackdown. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: TK / Belsat
Square of Change before crackdown. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: TK / Belsat
Square of Change before crackdown. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: TK / Belsat
Square of Change before crackdown. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: TK / Belsat
Square of Change before crackdown. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: TK / Belsat
Square of Change before crackdown. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: TK / Belsat
Square of Change before crackdown. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: TK / Belsat
Square of Change before crackdown. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: TK / Belsat

However, at about 4 pm, a massive crackdown on peaceful demonstrators began. The majority of memorial defenders were detained. Soldiers started to take down the place in memory of Raman Bandarenka, cutting off white-red-white flags and ribbons, taking away posters, flowers, candles which Belarusian had brought to pay the last respects to the killed compatriot.

Crackdown on protesters in Square of Change. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: Belsat
Crackdown on protesters in Square of Change. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: Belsat
Crackdown on protesters in Square of Change. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: Belsat
Crackdown on protesters in Square of Change. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: Belsat
Crackdown on protesters in Square of Change. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: Belsat

 

Crackdown on protesters in Square of Change. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: Belsat
Crackdown on protesters in Square of Change. Minsk, 15 November 2020. Photo: Belsat

Shortly before the dispersal, Minsk OMON commander Dzmitry Balaba demanded protesters get in ‘special vehicles’ on their own will. “You have nowhere to go! We’ve cordoned you off!” he stressed.

Notably, people were arrested and battered even in shops not far from the Square of Change; in search of protesters, troops broke in nearby blocks of flats.

March of Brave People. 15 November 2020. Photo: Belsat
March of Brave People. 15 November 2020. Photo: Belsat
March of Brave People. 15 November 2020. Photo: Belsat

Around 8 pm, Belsat TV got information about detaining your journalists Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova who were covering today’s protests in the Square of Change. They were taken to Kastrychnitski district police station.

As of 11 pm, there are 950 names on the human rights defenders’ lists of persons detained today throughout Belarus.

For over three months, post-election protests have been underway in the country; the major demands of Belarusians are Lukashenka’s resignation; holding a free and fair election; releasing political prisoners; putting an end to police violence as well as bringing to justice those involved in battering and torturing peaceful demonstrators.

Since August 9, around 18,000 people have been detained across the country over taking part in peaceful assemblies and openly expressing their opinion, human rights сentre Viasna reports. Many of them were beaten, some were raped. There are at least six death cases that are linked to the post-election protests. Hundreds are parties to criminal proceedings, the number of political prisoners exceeded 120.

Several thousand detainees filed complaints against police officers’ illegal actions to the Investigative Committee. However, not a single criminal case has been opened over the citizens’ appeals.

Taking no prisoners or ripping arms off? Lukashenka threatens protesters again

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