Orsha: police confiscate white-red-white flags at celebration of Military Glory Day

2008 2008-09-08T19:21:02+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On 8 September Belarus celebrates one of its most important and legendary holidays, the Day of Belarusian Military Glory.

This holiday reminds about the historical date, the victory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania’s troops over troops of Moscow principality in the battle on 8 September 1514 near the town of Orsha. The great battle was a victorious battle in this yet another war with Moscow principality, when Muscovite forces tried to occupy the territory of Belarus. One of the main heroes of the Orsha battle was of Hetman Kanstantsin Astrozhski. He was in command of the 30 000 troops which defeated more than 80,000 troops of Moscow principality.

On that day almost 500 years ago, in 1514, less than 30,000 troops of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Kingdom of Poland under the command of Hetman Kanstantsin Astrozhski, beat good and proper defeated the Muscovite forces (more than 80,000 troops of Moscow principality).

Only in at end of the 1980ies celebration of the Belarusian Military Glory Day started. And in 1992 on the anniversary of the great battle Belarusian officers solemnly took an oath to their native country and nation in Minsk on Independence Square. On 8 September 1992 in Minsk 12 officers and 3 000 reserve soldiers took an oath. Later participants of that ceremony were under pressure of the authorities, but in a short time all military units took an oath of loyalty to Belarus.

Every year solemn events take place in Minsk, and a festival Battle of Orsha is taking place on Krapiuna field (near the Rivers of Dnieper and Krapiuna). Prominent Belarusian writers, artists, bards, music bands and knight clubs are taking part in the festival.

Police seized white-red-white flags at Orsha festival

On 6-7 September near the village of Hatskaushchyna in Krapiuna Field the annual festival Battle of Orsha -2008 was held. Police was present at the festival. The commander of Orsha regional police department prohibited to its participants to raise white-red-white flags.

Policemen tried to find the organizers of the event, in order to charge them with the use of unregistered symbols. One flag was seized by policemen, but they didn’t seize the largest flag which decorated the stage, RFE/RL infroms.