Orsha: Police Detain People for Celebrating the Day of Belarusian Military Glory
About 100 opposition activists were detained on 8 September, the Day of Belarusian Military Glory in Orsha and Mahiliou. Only in the Krapivenskaya field were the bards’ fest was to be held over 40 people were detained. The group of 20 public activists was detained in Mahiliou. In Orsha the people were taken off trains and busses and after several hours’ detainment forced to return to their places. But 9 September another 20 people were detained in the Krapivenskaya field. Among the detainees there were many well-known people: bard Andrei Melnikau, artist Ales Pushkin, youth leaders Zmitser Khvedaruk, Andrei Sharenda, activists Ivan and Illia Shyla.
As youth leader Pavel Sevyarinets reported to the Charter’97 press center, the people who had been detained on 8 September were kept at the police departments until morning. However the policemen assured that none was officially detained as the reports had not been made. In the morning the detainees were released.
But the arrests continued until the following day. The activists detained on 9 September were brought in patrol wagons to the Orsha district police department and were kept in the assembly hall. When after documents check the militiamen started releasing the detainees ‘somebody threw the state flag out of the window into the street. After that the policemen started detaining those who had been released but remained near the building. As it was informally reported they faced charges of disgracing treatment of the state symbols’. Those charges were brought against artist Ales Pushkin, youth activists Aliaksei Yanusheuski and Alena Makarevich. However, the under-aged Alena Makarevich was soon released, whereas Pushkin and Yanusheuski still haven’t been tried. A criminal case can be brought against them for ‘disgracing the state symbols’.
It is also known that secretary of the organizing committee on establishment of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Party Dzianis Sadouski was sentenced to five days of jail for ‘petty hooliganism’. These charges were given to the activist only at court, before this the police accused him of disobeying and resisting their demands. One of the policemen insisted on Dzianis having scraped his hand. Since 8 September the activist have been kept in the Orsha city police department.
8 September policemen and secrete service staff members were meeting the trains from Minsk, Mаhiliou, Homel carrying the people to the bards’ fest. The vehicles moving there were also detained.
The Krapivenskaya field itself was surrounded by militiamen. On the eve of the holiday, 7 September, policemen declared that they had been phoned about the probable mining of the field.