Activists Mark the First Anniversary of Protests against Rigged Presidential Election

2007 2007-03-19T10:00:00+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

A year ago, on March 19, 2006 many thousands of people in Minsk protested against rigged election results. Kastrychnitskaya (October) Square, where people gathered right after polling stations closed, was renamed after the Belarusian national hero Kastus Kalinouski.

The results of the presidential elections in
Belarus were not recognized free and fair by the international community. Independent experts claim that the single democratic candidate Alexander Milinkevich won more than 30% of votes of Belarusians and majority of Minsk residents. Considering that about 20% of people supported the two other candidates, and many people voted against all candidates, Milinkevich was to take part in the second round of elections with Lukashenka as a rival. Not long ago Lukashenka admitted himself that the results of the election were falsified.

On March 16 the “Week of solidarity with
Belarus” has started in many countries of the world. It is timed to the first anniversary of the presidential elections in Belarus. The action is to last until March 25, when Belarusians will go to Kalinouski Square again, to celebrate the national holiday, Freedom Day.

On March 19 a rally on the anniversary of mass protests against the rigged results of the presidential election in
Belarus took place on October Square in Minsk. Several dozens of young activists, as well as the leader of the United Civil Party Anatol Lyabedzka took part in the action. People wanted to lay flowers on the square honoring the thousands of people who came to the streets one year ago to protest against the rigged results of the presidential vote. Participants of the action have called upon Belarusians to come to Kalinouski Square in Minsk to celebrate the 89th anniversary of proclamation of the Belarusian People’s Republic, Freedom Day, together.

Participants have managed to stay on the square for about 15 minutes. They were holding portraits of political prisoners in their hands, while national white-red-white flags were put on their shoulders. Riot police squadron arrived to the square; they started to squeeze out protesters from the square by force.

Protesters were “convoyed” along Skaryna (
Independence) Avenue as far as the State Circus, and then along Yanka Kupala and Maksim Bahdanovich Streets until Suvorau Military Academy. Nobody was allowed to change the way chosen by riot policemen. Only near the Military Academy people managed to disband.