On March 25th Belarusian authorities demonstrated their attitude to human rights
On March 25th , 2008 Belarusian citizens gathered for a peaceful demonstration to celebrate 90th anniversary of the Belarusian Democratic Republic.
Despite the exclusively peaceful nature of the demonstration, the participants were attacked by special police. They used brutal force and special means against the peaceful action participants. As a result, dozens of citizens were beaten, and over 100 participants were detained. There were teenagers, journalists of national and foreign mass media, and foreign citizens among the detained.
On March 26th four courts of Minsk began trials over the detained participants of the demonstration. According to the police reports, they were charged with violating the order of organizing and holding mass events, participating in a demonstration , which was not authorized by Minsk authorities, and yelled “anti-state slogans”: “Long live Belarus!” and “Shame!”
As a result of the trials, 26 people were sentenced to short jail terms, over 50 people were fined.
The Human Rights Center “Viasna” considers the actions of the authorities as serious violation of the human rights, guaranteed by the Constitution of the country and the International Pact of on Civic and Political Rights: the right to freedom of peaceful assemblies and free expression of opinions. Demonstratively brutal actions of policemen during dispersal of a peaceful action again demonstrate derogatory attitude of the Belarusian authorities to the basic principles of human rights.
In conjunction with that the Human Rights Center “Viasna” expresses its protest and demands from the authorities of Belarus to immediately release all the citizens, arrested during the peaceful demonstration. The Human Rights Center “Viasna” addresses representatives of the international community with the request to make an appropriate appraisal of the actions of the authorities of Belarus.