Chain of Concerned Readers in Support of Narodnaya Vola
About 400 people participated in the street action “Chain of Concerned Readers” in support of the Narodnaya Vola newspaper on June 10. At about 6 p.m. hundreds of people lined up in a chain along Skaryna Avenue with copies of independent newspapers in hands. Dozens of police and riot squad officers observed the action. None of the action participants were detained.
The people had no slogans or flags and did not make any public speeches. They just stood in a chain with newspapers in hands. Among action participants there were former presidential candidate Uladzimir Hancharyk, litterateurs Uladzimir Niaklayew, Nil Hilevich, Adam Hlobus, singer Kasia Kamotskaya, chair of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Zhanna Litvina, human rights activists and politicians. Leaders of the People’s Coalition Five Plus, which was one of the action initiators, did not manage to participate in the action because they had been delayed on Belarus, Lithuania border. Ordinary readers of the Narodnaya Vola also came to support the newspaper. Chief editor Iosif Siaredzich went along the whole chain shaking hands and thanking every action participant for support. He told the journalist he would not let the newspaper to disappear. At the same time he said he would not pay the compensation to Yahor Rybakow.
People in civil clothes regularly reported about the behavior of the action participants. A chain of policemen stood on the other side of the avenue. Several riot police officers “guarded” the “concerned readers” on each side of the square.
The action on Kastrychnitskaya Square lasted for about an hour. At about 7 p.m. a significant part of action participants headed to Kazarmeny Street to personally express support to hunger strikers.
The idea of an action emerged when on May 31 the board of the Supreme Court ruled the Narodnaya Vola was to pay 50 million BYR (about USD 23 000) to ex-head of Belarusian TV Yahor Rybakow. The last instance which can change the verdict is the presidium of the Supreme Court, reports Belarusian Association of Journalists.