Twenty-year-old Ilya (name changed at the request of the man) took an active part in the first days of the confrontation in Minsk, but ended up in prison in Homiel. He told Belsat about the street resistance, conditions in the Homiel pre-trial detention center and police violence.
First days of protest
Ilya took a very active part in the very first day of the protests. The guy fought off civilians from riot police, got through to the stela. He well remembers the moment when the security forces began to use flash grenades.
“At first I got the impression that they sound and look worse from afar than when you run through them with your ears closed,” he recalls.
He says he felt despair when he saw cars with high bars and water cannons.
“The only thing we had left do was shout slogans. But words will not save you from violence, ”the guy said.
That night, from August 9th to 10th, he experienced real horror.
“I ran around the courtyards all alone, there was nobody around, there was not even light in the windows, and there were columns of special police cars near the streets. I saw how riot police ran into the yards, how they grabbed people standing in the street and near the entrances to buildings. My rule in those hours was “Movement is life.”
Man’s foot got torn off
He ended up meeting another guy who was in the car. Perhaps this saved him from detention. Ilya describes the protests of August 10 as “festive”.
“We sang songs, we heard slogans. I rested and waited: where can the security forces come from now? ”
Riot police appeared unexpectedly, along with flash grenades.
“A man’s foot was torn off in front of my eyes. Three men pulled him to a bus stop, where they put him on a bench and called an ambulance. I was very happy when I learned that he survived. ”
The riot police did not allow the protesters to come closer than 50 meters – everyone was constantly retreating.
“It seemed to me that we lost, later it became known about the deceased…”, the man says.
Ilya decided to return to his native Homiel. It seemed to him that the protests were still going on there. Immediately on Tuesday 11 August, he took part in local actions. He says that he walked along the Savetskaya street with a white-red-white ribbon. There he was noticed by the police.
The man was detained near the central square of the city. There were random people in the paddy wagon. They did not beat me during the arrest. They took me to the local police station, and during the examination they found a pepper spray.
“Because of this, I was taken to a special floor. They beat off my hips, humiliated me: both with words and dipped my head into the toilet. When I refused to be interrogated, they beat me on the body and head. ”
On August 11, the Navabelitski court sentenced the man to 10 days of administrative arrest. He served this term in the Homiel pre-trial detention center. The conditions there were much better in comparison with the Minsk detention center.
“There were 22 people in my cell, there was no such lack of places as in Minsk. Most of them were arrested for participating in rallies. Moreover, they deliberately went to the protests. But there were also plenty of random people.”
Nobody complained about the beatings after the police stations. Ilya describes inmates as “most pleasant people”. They put together parcels from different people. It turned out that cigarettes, sausages, cookies and other sweets would be enough for 2 jail terms of 15 days. The prisoners sculpted figures for chess and backgammon from bread.
If in Minsk people were not allowed to sleep, in Homiel they were even allowed to lie in bed more.
“The lights are off in Belarusian prisons usually from 10 pm to 6 pm. People are often not allowed to sleep after 6 am, but we didn’t have this.”
But every day they were taken in groups of 10 people to sign a repentance paper. Ilya refused to sign it.
Ilya was released on Saturday, August 15. And already on the 16th I went to the next protest action. He appealed the court’s decision and wrote an appeal to the Investigative Committee to start a criminal case against the police. The guy says he feels good. The detention did not leave any special traumas.
“The only moment when I felt bad was when lists of missing persons appeared on TUT.by. Then there were even problems with sleep. But after a couple of days everything was gone. ”
Despite the arrest, Ilya will continue to fight.
“But will the protest mood persist?” the man doubts.
Since August 9th the protests against the results of the presidential elections 2020 have been continuing all over Belarus. According to the CEC, it’s already the sixth time that Alyaksandr Lukashenka has won it, with the official result of 80.10%. According to the CEC, his main competitor – Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya – has gained 10.12%.
About 7 thousand people were detained during the protests. Many people spoke about ill-treatment during the detentions. There were recorded cases of the use of tasers, detainees were not fed or given water, some were sexually abused.
Kseniya Tarasevich/belsat.eu/ belsat.eu