Nordic walking or ‘unauthorised event’? Vitsebsk police detain six elderly women in forest

On Wednesday morning, the Vitsebsk police detained six pensioners, including the political prisoner’s mother Tatsyana Sevyarynets.

According to her husband Kanstantsin, Tatsyana and her five friends were doing nordic walking in the forest near Vitsebsk. There, they were surrounded by uniformed people and taken to the police station.

“I don’t know why they detained my wife and her friends. I only know that every morning they practise walking with sticks in the woods,” he said.

It was not until the evening that Kanstantsin Sevyarynets found out that his wife was in court. A protocol was drawn upon her for ‘participating in an unauthorised mass event’. As the working day came to its end at that moment, the woman was released.The police accused her of ‘waving a white-red-white flag in the forest’, Tatsyana told TUT.BY. However, the other five detainees were left in custody.

Round dancer from Homiel in jail after Christmas celebration

In the autumn of 2020, a Vitsebsk court imposed a fine of 675 rubles on Tatsyana Sevyarynets for ‘participating in an ‘unauthorised mass event’ on August, 30. However, the woman was staying at home at that moment: Tatsyana and her husband Kanstantsin just went out into the balcony of their flat on the sixth floor and waved a white-red-white flag, greeting the participants in Sunday’s solidarity march.

In 1991, the white-red-white flag and the emblem Pahonya (Pursuit) were adopted as national symbols of the country. However, they were official until the 1995 referendum, when on the tip from Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who is an ardent adherer of the USSR, they were replaced by the Soviet ones. Pro-Lukashenka officials have been linking the white-red-white flag to the opposition for years. Last December, the authorities said that those Belarusian citizens who would hang out ‘unregistered symbols’ even on their windows or balconies might be penalised under administrative law.

Flag of rejection of Lukashism