Last week’s detention of popular vlogger Syarhei Tsikhanouski was the beginning of a wave of preventive and punitive measures across the country. Since then, about 120 people have been detained or summoned to the police.
On May 6, Tsikhanouski’s car was stopped by the traffic police not far from the Belarusian city of Mahiliou. The blogger was taken to the local predetention facility. A day earlier, Mahiliou police tried to bar Tsikhanouski from holding a meeting with the viewers. They attempted to detain his associate Zmitser, but the people who came to participate in the event did not let them to do that.
Syarhei Tsikhanouski, a resident of Homiel, created Youtube channel Страна Для Жизни (A Country for Life) that has nearly 140,000 subscribers. After covering December’s protests against deepening Belarus-Russia integration, he was sentenced to the total of 30 days in prison. In his Youtube videos, Tsikhanouski harshly criticises the policy pursued by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
On Sunday evening, the human rights centre Viasna reported the confirmed information about 55 activists and Tsikhanouski’s supporters who are currently being kept behind bars. Of these, 17 people were sentenced to 2 to 15 days in jail. Trials took place in Homiel, Vitsebsk, Lida, Hrodna, and Mahiliou. At the moment, the total number of days that the defendants will have to spend in custody is 132.
38 detainees are to appear before court on Monday and Tuesday.
On May 9, the Babruisk drivers were set to protest against the public celebration of Victory Day amid the spread of the novel coronavirus. However, the street, where the ‘anti-parade’ rally had been planned, was blocked by the police.