Police detain protesters who damaged water cannon at Sunday’s march

The Main Directorate for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption has identified some persons who distunguish themselves by committing ‘illegal actions’ during the protest rally in Minsk on October 4, the Interior Ministry reports.

According to the ministry, five young men aged 21 to 30 ‘were coordinating the crowd and participating in blocking traffic’.

“Moreover, the 27-year-old resident of Stolin district dismantled a water cannon (he pulled out hydraulic pumps); the 26-year-old Minsk resident threw stones at special vehicles. Two 21-year-olds from Nyasvizh and Mahiliou are suspected of taping the lens of an outdoor surveillance camera on the building of the detention centre [in Akrestsin Street]. The identity of their third accomplice is being clarified,” the statement reads.

The protesters mentioned above have been taken into custody. Administrative protocols have been drawn up against them over showing up at the ‘unauthorised mass event’. At the same time, however, they are also facing criminal prosecution: investigators are to to give a legal assessment of the detainees’ allegedly contributing to ‘actions that grossly violate public order’.

Water cannon in Minsk streets. 4 October 2020. Photo: Belsat.eu

It means that a criminal case under Art. 342 of the Criminal Code might be initiated against them. It is not uncommon that Belarusian law enforcement officers resort to this article in order to politically motivate the persecution of peaceful protesters.

In addition, the Interior Ministry stresses that ‘some of the detainees were active participants in August’s mass riots in Minsk, which resulted in their being involved in a criminal case’.

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