Artur Finkevich: ‘If It Is an Action of Intimidation, It Failed’
A recent attempt of the leaders of Young Front to discuss in a private flat the plans of an action dedicated to St. Valentine’s Day, resulted in arrest of about 30 activists of the organization, including under-aged, by riot squad police.
‘We discussed issues related to the campaign of mass spring actions, first of all St. Valentine’s Day. This action actually brought up a generation of youth. It has been always carried out under the slogans ‘Belarus – to Europe!’ and ‘I Love Belarus!’.
However, even if the guys were planning an action against smoking, the secret services would view them as criminal as well. The matter is that Young Front didn’t manage to get state registration, that’s why its existence contradicts to the Belarusian legislation. In addition, several years ago the president plainly called it an extremist organization.
After several hours of interrogations at Minsk Savetski borough police department almost all of the detainees were released. However, two leaders, Zmitser Khvedaruk and Aleh Korban are still detained – according to preliminary information they are in the investigative isolator of KGB, where spies and dissidents were kept in the Soviet times. According to Malady Front, they are suspected in ‘activity on behalf on unregistered organization’, article 193.1 of the Criminal Code.
By the way, Aleh Korban wasn’t detained together with all other activists. He was detained later, in his flat, where he celebrated his birthday. His apartment was searched, as well as flats of a number of other detainees.
Nevertheless, Artur Finkevich points that if it was an action of intimidation, it failed. ‘Despite all these detentions Young Front will celebrate St. Valentine’s Day on 14 February. The action will start at 6 p.m. in Freedom Square, near the old town council. In the morning we will pay visits to the Embassies of the EU countries, missions of the OSCE and the EU in order to congratulate Ambassadors and representatives of the diplomatic missions of these countries with this holiday, as we do every year. It means that we act despite all obstacles and even with more forces, because after such repressions even more people come to us. We don’t give up and move forward to our aim,’ stated Artur Finkevich in his interview to Deutsche Welle.