On August 9, the day of the presidential election, the Belarusian authorities started detaining peaceful picketers who took to the streets to show their discontent with vote rigging. However, the protests continued. As of Thursday morning, the number of detainees throughout the country amounted to 6,800.
However, on Thursday evening, detainees started to be released from the tightly packed detention centre in Akrestsin Street in Minsk. Volunteers called on car owners to come and drive the people home as many of them were in a state of shock, had no documents, money, and mobile phones.
The response was so massive that a traffic jam formed near the prison. Volunteers even had to address those willing to help on the Internet, saying there were enough cars and drivers.
Volunteers were covering them with blankets and providing with water and food. Ambulance cars were seen to be driving through the prison gate.
People who has no information about their missing relatives showed photos to those leaving the detention centre, hoping that they happened to see them in the cell.
According to one of the detainees, her car was stopped by the traffic police. Then the police arrived; they had information that she was allegedly carrying much of pyrotechnics. The car was searched, nothing was found, but the woman was jailed anyway.
People were keeping silence: it is known that if there are voices of support from outside, jailers start beating detainees inside.
Deputy Interior Minister Alyaksandr Barsukou arrived and said that there had never been any violence in the detention centre in Akrestsin Street.
Notably, there were NUMBERS drawn by a marker pen on the backs of the detainees. By 2 am on Friday, 145 men and women have been released.