Five Defenders of Historical Center of Hrodna Get Detained
Opposition youth are joining a campaign against the redevelopment of Hrodna’s historical center. Authorities are planning to demolish at least two buildings in the center of Hrodna to widen the road and the bridge in the heart of the area.
Journalist Ales Zaleuski, a campaigner against the project, told BelaPAN that opposition youths from across Belarus was arriving in the city in western Belarus to help patrol the bridge across the River Nioman, which would soon be closed ahead of construction work, and the area around a structure that housed a stable in the late 18th century and the early 19th century. Under the redevelopment plant, the structure is to be demolished and replaced with an Orthodox Christian church.
On 2 June about 20 activists reportedly hitch-hiked to Hrodna to distribute leaflets about the project. In the evening they fixed a sign on the bridge, reading ‘Against Hrodna’s Demolition’ and lit candles. Five young people, including a member of the council of the BPF Youth Andrei Ihnatovich, were arrested and taken to a police department where they were held for two hours.
Meanwhile, campaigners intend to hold a meeting on 10 June to approve the composition of a group that would make a try to collect signatures from around 20 000 people, 10 percent of all voters in the city, to initiate a local referendum against the redevelopment project. Mr. Zaleuski said that the lineup would be unveiled during a show that Liavon Volski, the leader of Belarus’ folk-core band N.R.M., would stage in the city within the framework of the Musicians against Hrodna’s Demolition campaign. On the same day, Belarusian and foreign artists are take part in an open-air painting session in Hrodna to protest the project.