Minsk: Pensioners’ March dispersed, dozens detained

Pro-govt forces vs participants in Wisdom March. 14 December 2020. Photo: belsat.eu

The Minsk police have thwarted Monday’s March of Pensioners, also known as Wisdom March.

Over the past months, pro-opposition elderly Minskers have made Monday’s event an unofficial tradition; as a rule, they move along central streets to Yakub Kolas Square. Students and health workers often join the march.

Previously, pro-govt forces blocked the column on Independence Avenue, divided it into smaller groups, and grabbed single demonstrators.

Today, the things were developing in much the same way: about one hundred seniors, including legendary Belarusian activists Nina Bahinskaya and Yan Hryb, gathered in Independence Square; some of them were holding white-red-white flags and symbols. As the roads to the avenue had been cordoned off, the participants held an impromptu protest rally on the spot: they started walking around the New Year Tree, chanting “[Lukashenka,] go away!”, “Long live Belarus!”, “Freedom for political prisoners!”

According to human rights defenders’ information, about 80 people were detained and driven to two police stations; the oldest person is at the age of 78. They may be charged with taking part in an unauthorised mass event (Art. 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offences).

Detained seniors in police bus. 14 December 2020. Photo: Belsat viewers

Ambulance car at Kastrychnitski district police department. 14 December 2020. Photo: Belsat.eu

An ambulance car reportedly took a woman from Kastrychnitski district police department to Minsk emergency care hospital.

Pensioners’ relatives, volunteers near police department. 14 December 2020. Source: TG My Country Belarus

As of 7.30 pm (local time), the participants’ families and volunteers were waiting for their release near the police departments of Kastrychnitski and Leninski districts. The policemen have refused to hand over medicines to some of the detainees.

People forming chain of solidarity with detained pensioners. Dzyarzhynsk, 14 December, 2020. Photo: Belsat viewers

Seniors protesting in Minsk: ‘Grandmas and grandpas, let’s march to the victory!’