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On September 13, Heroes’ March kicked off at 2 pm (local time) in the Belarusian capital. It is the fifth Sunday rally of thousands in a row; two previous protests were marred by severe detentions.
For over a month, 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 propaganda on state-run TV stations.
On September 13, protest rallies and marches took place in the regions as well.
Since August 9, more than 10,000 people have been detained across the country. 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.
Ahead of the march, police started to detain people holding white-red-white flags and national symbols (in Hrushauka residential area, in Mayakovski street). Since the very morning, there have been numerous reports about siloviki’s being pulled in to the centre of Minsk.
Siloviki cordoned off the Palace of Republic in Kastrychnitskaya Square:
Many people are moving from Yakub Kolas Square to the centre of the city:
14.30 Detentions in the city of Mahiliou:
14.35 Brutal detentions in Nyamiha street, Victors’ Avenue and Independence Avenue in Minsk:
Independence Avenue was closed off:
14.55 Mobile Internet was switched off in downtown Minsk. central metro stations (Kastrychnitskaya, Kupalauskaya, Frunzenskaya, Lenin Square, Victory Square, Yakub Kolas Square) were closed.
15.02 Security forces failed to disperse a large column of demonstrators in Melnikaite street, and it is heading to Minsk Hero City Stele as well as thousands who are moving along Victors’ Avenue and Nyamiha street, Nasha Niva reports.
15.20 At least 46 participants in the march have been detained, human rights centre Viasna reports.
15.30 The Interior Ministry reports that protests are being held in 17 cities and towns of Belarus. According to the authorities, about 250 people have been detained in Minsk: ‘All of them used flags and other unregistered symbols, as well as posters’.
Менск у гэтыя хвіліны.
Паглядзіце, колькі людзей.
Кожны б дзень так пратэст «здуваўся».
Відэа даслалі чытачы. pic.twitter.com/jG1A7rEnmr
— Белсат TV (@Belsat_TV) September 13, 2020
15.56 By various estimates, a column moving along Kalvaryiskaya street may include up to 100,000 persons:
16.00 Siloviki started detentions in the vicinity of Riviera Plaza business centre in Minsk; people are trying to escape:
16.17 Groups of protesters are heading to Drazdy (a residential area where lots of Belarusian officials, including Alyaksandr Lukashenka, live). For this reason, Victors’ Avenue was blocked in the direction of Drazdy, only public service vehicles are allowed to pass.
Only about 3,000 persons are taking part in today’s protest march in Minsk, the Interior Ministry says.
A zdaniem MSW w dzisiejszym Marszu w Mińsku bierze udział 3 tys osób… pic.twitter.com/T1S40KCmZr
— Biełsat po polsku (@Bielsat_pl) September 13, 2020
16.45 A main column of protesters charged siloviki’s lines on the way to Drazdy.
17.05 Police cordons at the entrance to Drazdy:
Protesters are marching through Vyasnyanka residential area in Minsk:
17.25 Protesters stopped near Arena City in Victors’ Avenue. The road is blocked by security officers and special equipment.
17.55 Protesters opted for stepping back from the cordon near Arena City and moving to Minsk Hero City Stele.
18.15 The Belarusian Interior Ministry denied reports about firing in the air and using flashbang grenades against the protesters. However, numerous media workers claim the opposite. Shots are also heard in videos.
18.43 Natallya Pravalinskaya, editor-in-chief of IT news portal dev.by, was detained in Minsk. Belsat TV reporter Artsyom Lyava is still in Kastrychnitski district police department. His car was sealed, computer and mobile phone were confiscated.
19.13 The column reached the intersection of Prytytski street and Pushkin Avenue. Many protesters stayed near the impromptu memorial sign to Alyaksandr Taraykouski who was killed durinng the crackdown on protesters at Pushkinskaya metro station on August, 10.
19.34 Mass detentions started in the vicinity of Pushkinskaya, Nasha Niva reports.
As of 7 pm, more than 400 people have been detained in the city of Minsk, and ‘several hundred’ across Belarus, the Interior Ministry reports.
20.08 On the back of the March of Heroes, Minskers are chanting ‘Long live Belarus!’ on the subway:
20.48 Human rights centre Viasna has published the names of 213 detainees; the list is being updated.
21.30 Siloviki detained photojournalists Uladz Hrydzin and Alyaksandr Vasyukovich in the cafe ‘1067’ . Vasyukovich was taken to Frunzenski district police station; administrative case was opened against him, Volha Chamadanava, spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, said. However, she failed to specify what Alyaksandr is charged with.
21.45 Belsat TV contributor Artsyom Lyava has been released; no protocol was drawn upon him. However, the police sent the equipment seized from him for examination.