Offbeat Knowledge Day: Students march, OMON detain protesters (photos, video)
On September 1, Belarus’ Knowledge Day, lots of students took to the streets to protest against vote rigging and the authorities’ harsh response to dissidence. The police have already started detentions in Minsk.
On Tuesday morning, about a hundred IT and techie students (BSUIR, BNTU) marched along Independence Avenue in Minsk. A number of students of the Belarusian State Economic University (BSEU) and the Belarusian State University (BSU) also gathered near university buildings as a sign of protest. OMON riot police blocked the main building of BSU and barred students holding white-red-white symbols from entering it.
OMON and plainclothed policemen were spotted in brutally detaining students in Victory Square. Minsk State Linguistic University being located in the vicinity. Notably, university professor Ihar Puchenya, which is responsible for educational work at MSLU, told students that OMON would be let into the building if they did not stop protesting.
Начальнік па выхаваўчай працы з моладдзю МДЛУ Ігар Пучэня заявіў, што гатовы ўпусціць амап ў будынак на студэнтаў ?
At the main entrance to the Belarusian University of Culture and Arts, over a hundred students gathered to support their dismissed rector Alina Korbut. They were singing the university’s anthem.
A group of students and several educators of the Academy of Arts staged a live art performance by putting black tape on their mouths and holding hands behind their backs. Some were carrying posters.
The exact number of the students detained during today’s march is still unknown, Natallya Hanusevich, spokeswoman for the Minsk city police, told TUT.BY. According to human rights centre Viasna, as of 1 pm, at least 28 persons have been detained since morning, including two journalists who were covering the students’ protests; the list is being updated.
At about 4 pm (local time), the march was still underway in spite of police’s numerous attempts to stop columns of students and supporters. Half an our later, mass detention started, a Belsat journalist reports.