Sunday’s march: Belarusians demand to release political prisoners
In a live broadcast, Belsat TV anchors give latest news, comment on the recent developments, talk to experts, and connect to our reporters in Belarus (in BEL/RU). For ENG updates, follow us on Twitter.
On the 57th day of protests against vote rigging and police brutality in Belarus, the marches called ‘For Release of Political Prisoners’ kicked off at 2 pm in Belarusian cities and towns.
Since the start of the presidential campaign, the number of political prisoners in Belarus has risen from 3 to 77.
“Each of you takes part in protesting for the sake of your own freedom. But today a march for the freedom of political prisoners is to take place. There are people who, like Syarhei Tsikhanouski, have not seen their families for several months. There are people who have suffered and are still suffering for their beliefs. And our mission is to release them. So I support everyone who takes to the streets of their city today. Let the whole world see that the Belarusian people want to be at liberty, not in prison.”
In her statement, Tsikhanouskaya also made mention of Dzyanis Kuznyatsou, who died after being kept in the notorious detention centre in Akrestsin Street.
“It is terrible that people die, that they are murdered in jails. It is terrible that their deaths are covered with blatant lies. It is terrible that there are lots of people who have been thrown into prisons over their daring to fight for freedom,” she said.
The Interior Ministry announced heavy security presence due to ‘the opposition’s plans to carry out illegal rallies’.
There were military armoured vehicles and water cannons near Minsk Hero City Stele; APCs were parked in the vicinity of Independence Palace (one of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s residences); paddy wagons were spotted in the city centre, near Yanka Kupala National Theatre. Several central metro stations, including Victory Square, Kastrychnitskaya, Lenin Square, as well as many shops and malls were closed off in the run-up to Sunday’s march.
В Минске тем временем подготовились к тому, «чтобы люди могли, если у них есть желание, пройтись».
Все условия создали — в центр города стянули спецтехнику: бронемашины и автозаки, закрыли станции метро в центре города и отключили мобильный интернет.
(UPD) By various estimates, more than 100,000 persons might have taken part in today’s march in Minsk. As of 11.30 pm, there have been 220 detention cases throughout Belarus, human rights centre Viasna reports. The list of detainees is being updated; some of them were released.
🔥 Менск у гэтыя хвіліны!
Хто там казаў, што пратэст «здуваецца»?
Our reporter happened to be a metre away from the water cannon that arrive to disperse Belarusians demanding freedom for political prisoners in Minsk. He managed to film several protesters ‘neutralising’ the special vehicle, i.e. taking paint containers out of it. Suddenly, the water cannon turned into a kind of city fountain and drove off.
❗️Наш корреспондент стоял буквально в метре от водомета, который приехал разгонять Марш за свободу политзаключенных в Минске. Он снял, как протестующие «обезвредили» спецтехнику.
Сегодня минчане дошли до ЦИП на Окрестина, куда направляют задержанных во время протестов. pic.twitter.com/bJGQobhc3B
Today, a column of protesters reached the detention centre in Akrestsin Street; they staged a picket there, chanting: “Release!”, “Freedom to political prisoners!” Some of them left makeshift messages to the jailers, fixing photos of alleged protest victims Mikita Kryutsou, Kanstantsin Shyshmakou, Dzyanis Kuznyatsou on the entrance plate: