Minsk OMON commander: We are ready for stepping up of protests in spring

Dzmitry Balaba.

The Minsk riot police unit will be up to the task if the protests resume in the spring time, its commander Dzmitry Balaba said in TV station CTV’s broadcast.

“Our unit must be permanently on alert, so we are always ready. And believe me, the response will always be matching. Of course, we are preparing for completing our tasks in the light of the changing situation in the world – look what is happening in our country, in neighbouring states. The course of events has shown this to be so. Time never stands still, and our unit keeps in step with the times,” he stressed.

When asked about the recently reported cases of riot policemen’s allegedly quitting their jobs en masse, Dzmitry Balaba said that the information provided by media outlets was fake, and the statistical data had been miscalculated.

According to him, the dynamics of staffing the unit is now even better than in previous years.

“In any organisation there is a constant movement. Some people are redeployed, others find a new place, some retire, young people come in their place,” he said.

As reported earlier, Dzmitry Balaba, Commander of the Special Purpose Police Unit of Minsk (OMON), came into EU top officials’ view amid post-election protests in Belarus. In October, the European Union leaders agreed to impose sanctions on more than 40 Belarusians over the vote rigging and police violence in the country. Apart from Balaba, it included senior police and election officers, e.g. Interior Minister Yury Karayeu, Public Security Police Chief Alyaksandr Barsukou, Lidziya Yarmoshyna, Chairperson of the Belarusian Central Election Commission, Valery Vakulchyk, ex-Head of the State Security Committee (KGB), and others.

‘Freedom to Losik’ : protests in Belarus on January 24