Police detain activist who protested against opening restaurant near mass execution site

On Tuesday evening, the Minsk police detained Volha Nikalaichyk, who was holding a picket in Kurapaty, a Stalin-era mass grave site near Minsk.

Police detain Volha Nikalaichyk. Photo by Iryna Arakhouskaya, belsat.eu

On May 28, there were reports about a new restaurant which would allegedly be located in the group of buildings formerly known as Bulbash Hall, i.e. in close vicinity of Kurapaty. It belongs to BelRestInvest company. At the moment, everything is ready for the opening. The company also intends to have a bath house here.

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Wooden cross and poster ‘I Was Killed In Kurapaty. Now There’s Booze Mill’ . Photo by Iryna Arakhouskaya, belsat.eu
Volha Nikalaichyk in Kurapaty. Photo by Iryna Arakhouskaya, belsat.eu

The picket began at 20.00. Although only two female activists, Volha Nikalaichyk and Nina Bahinskaya, took part in the event, 10 policemen, including a top law-enforcement official, were called to the scene. They filmed the picketers, checked the documents of Belsat TV journalists and put down their personal data. The women has a wooden cross and a poster.

Volha Nikalaichyk in Kurapaty. Photo by Iryna Arakhouskaya, belsat.eu
Plainclothes policemen keep eye on Volha Nikalaichyk. Photo by Iryna Arakhouskaya, belsat.eu
Near Bulbash Hall, Kurapaty. Photo by Iryna Arakhouskaya, belsat.eu

Nikalaichyk was going to keep the watch in Kurapaty all night long; she hoped that someone would join her. But at about 21.45 a white van drove up and plainclothes police officers pushed her into the car. The activist was taken to Savetski district police department.

Police van and wooden cross. Photo by Iryna Arakhouskaya, belsat.eu
Plainclothes policeman in Kurapaty. Photo by Iryna Arakhouskaya, belsat.eu
Policeman films journalists. Photo by Iryna Arakhouskaya, belsat.eu

Opposition activists have announced another rally in defense of Kurapaty.

Kurapaty, a place on the outskirts of Minsk, is not just the national memorial and a mass grave of the victims of Stalinist repression; since 1993, it has been is a site of historical and cultural heritage. According to historians, 100,000 – 250,000 persons might have been killed there.

In February 2017, the Belarusian activists began a long-term action in defense of the memorial protesting against the construction of an office building started a few dozen meters from Kurapaty. According to them, it is fraudulent as the building permission was granted when the area was considered a protected zone.

After two-week protesting in Kurapaty, the developer, Belrekonstruktsiya company, decided to take away its building fleet. The company ordered to minimize any works and take the machines away.

belsat.eu

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