Smalyavichy police mistake graduating class for Sunday protesters, detain them

On Sunday, the police detained eleventh-graders from the local gymnasium school and brought them to the police station of Smalyavichy, a satellite town of Minsk. Notably, the students were going along the central street after the rehearsal of their graduate prom waltz.

“The boys were put behind bars, girls were sitting on benches, they were made to change police vans, then driven to the police department and ordered to face the wall. Thank God, there was a woman who wondered, staring at them in astonishment: ‘What for have you taken the children here?’ And they were released,” writer and educator Hanna Sevyarynets said on Facebook.

According to one of the schoolers, following the rehearsal, the 14-person class gathered near the local community centre, they were about to walk home together.

“At some moment, a blue Geely car pulled up in the parking lot not far from us. There were four policemen inside. One of them rolled down the window and started filming us. We laughed and waved at their camera,” he told news portal TUT.BY.

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

Then, the same car repeatedly passed by the walking schoolers. After a while, four OMON riot policemen and a traffic police officer stopped the teenagers and told them to get on their van. “We will explain everything at the police station,” the interviewee quotes the officers.

The information was later confirmed by the Belarusian Interior Ministry. Its representatives downplayed the incident and presented a different version of detaining:

“All students were driven in one and the same vehicle; they spent not more than six minutes in front of the police station <…> As soon as the policemen seized up the situation, they apologised to the young people for the inconvenience and let them go.”

As reported earlier, protest rallies called the March of People’s Accusing were held in Belarusian cities and towns on December, 13. Apparently, the Smalyavichy police mistook the group of eleventh-formers for Sunday protesters.

Sunday’s March of People’s Accusing in Minsk and regions, following,