Police Seizes Freedom Bell

2006 2006-03-29T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Vitebski Kuryer # 24 of March 28 published an article by Ales Kozik titled “Where did the Freedom Bell Disappear?”
On March 20 during the rally on Kastrychnitskaya Square the Bell of Freedom was presented to the people. The authors of this piece of art are artist Alaksei Marachkin and sculptors Ales Shaternik and Leu Talbuzin. They were working on the Bell for more than 12 months. There was a special fund-raising group created which was promoting this sacral work of art. The police confiscated the Bell after the rally on Kastrychnitskaya Square. Vitebski Kuryer’s reporter asked Alaksei Marachkin to tell the story of the Bell and about the circumstances of its “detention”.

“The Bell contains the quotes from Lew Sapeha, famous chancellor of the Great Principality of Lithuania, as well as the quotes from Vasil Bykau, Kastus Kalinouski, a quote from the Bible (in Skaryna’s translation), and an image of the Euphrasinia’s of Polotsk Cross. Many people were praying during the work on the Bell. That’s why it’s not just a work of art, but a sacral, spiritual treasure of the Belarusian people.
After the rally Ales Pashkevich, chairperson of the Union of Belarusian Writers, was transporting the Bell to our studio. On the way he was stopped by police. The police detained both the car and the Bell. Pashkevich made a phone call to me and Shaternik. We came to the police office, and showed our documents to the police officers. We are not only the authors of the Bell, but it is still considered our property. What is the reason for detention of our property? Shortly after the police gave Pashkevich his car back. However, the bell is still “under arrest”. The authorities are afraid of the Freedom Bell. Otherwise, why would they arrest it? We hope the story of the Bell will not be similar to the story of Euphrasinia’s of Polotsk Cross – when it disappeared during the Second World War. At least we know who took it away from us”.