To maintain public order in the capital of Belarus, a new regiment of special police was created – this is the way the authorities prepare for elections
In Minsk a regiment of special police started work, which includes parts of the former riot police of the capital. This regiment is subordinated to the head of Minsk police General Anatol Kuliashou, the regiment commander is Iury Padabed, who earlier was in charge of the Minsk riot police and himself took part in the dispersal of many opposition-led actions, for which he was banned entry to the EU countries.
The head of the press service of Minsk police Aleh Sliepchanka said in an interview with Radio Liberty that the new regiment will be in no way different from riot police apart from the staff number: "This is the same riot police with a changed name and an increased number".
Alieh Sliepchanka, however, did not specify the increase and how many police officers will be in the new regiment. The head of the press service said that "usually we do not disclose such information". However, they do not keep secret the goals of the new units within the city police – maintaining public order during mass street actions, including opposition-led ones. The head of Minsk police General Anatol Kuliashou already said that well- and specially-trained staff must deal with such issues.
How will the new regiment affect the activity of the Belarusian oppositionists? Alies Atroshchankau, an activist of the youth movement Zubr, believes that this will not stop those unhappy with the Belarusian regime, and reminded that Mikita Sasim, a Zubr activist beaten on 16 September, is now in hospital with a craniocerebral injury.
The politician Andrei Klimau, who is sentenced to restricted freedom, believes that the new regiment of special police is due to Aliaxandr Lukashenka preparing for the 2006 presidential elections.