School authorities call OMON to quiet down protesting students, parents outraged

On October 29, a number of students of Minsk gymnasium school #4 joined the ongoing protests.

During breaks, the schoolers held improvised rallies of solidarity with the fellow learners whose parents were detained. To quiet the rebellious students down, the school authorities called… OMON riot police.

As a response to the attempt to intimidate the teenagers, a one-man picket was held near the school building. Picketer Andrey Asipenka who had a poster “Students, you are mind-blowing!” was then arrested and sentenced to 15 days in jail.

One-man picket near gymnasium school nr 4. Minsk, 29.10.2020.

On Friday morning, over 150 parents came to the school, seeking to meet with its headmaster Andrey Hotsman. They demanded the administration stop persecuting children over the views they express. The parents also urged the school authorities to appeal to the court with an official motion in defense of Mr Asipenka.

Parents meeting with headmaster Andrey Hotsman. Minsk, 30.10.2020. Photo: Nasha Niva

Peaceful protests have been underway for over 80 days in Belarus. Las Monday, the start of a nationwide strike was announced, but big state-run enterprises and industrial giants hardly joined it amid the threats launched by the Belarusian authorities. However, there are private entrepreneurs, people of culture and science, health workers, teachers and students who are on strike.

This week, Belarusian universities started to expel the students who were spotted in taking part in strikes and rallies. On October 27, Alyaksandr Lukashenka was close to giving a direct order to take the protesters’ names off the universities’ books.

“Students, if you come to study, study. Whoever wants, let them study. Whoever went out in violation of the law for unauthorised actions must be deprived of the right to be a student. Please send them, as I said, some to the army and some to the street. Let them walk down the street. But they must be expelled from the university,” Lukashenka said.

The administrations of a number of Belarusian higher educational institutions seem to be following his advice.

Minsk: Rally in support of expelled students and fired teachers