On 1 May Minsk police disbanded action of solidarity with political prisoners
In Minsk riot policemen were beating up participants of the peaceful rally of solidarity with political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich who had declared indefinite hunger strike. The rally took place on 1 May near the remand prison in Valadarski Street in Minsk.
Since February 2009 political prisoners Mikalai Autukhovich, Uladzimir Asipenka and Yury Liavonau have been kept in the remand prison in Minsk.
50 activists of the civil campaign European Belarus and Young Front gathered near the remand prison with portraits of prisoners of conscience, with the streamer ‘Freedom to political prisoners!’, a national white-red-white flag and European flags. Oppositionists were chanting: ‘Freedom to political pruners!’ and ‘Long live Belarus!’ Coordinator of the Charter’97 Zmitser Bandarenka, youth leaders, activists of the European Belarus Zmitser Barodka, Yauhen Afnahel, Pavel Yukhnevich, Maxim Viniarski have taken part in the rally as well.
Protesters stated that they came to support Mikalai Autukhovich, as his life is seriously menaced today. Afghan war veteran, who had been awarded Red Banner order and For Courage medal, Mikalai Autukhovich suffers from pancreatitis, and indefinite hunger strike can kill him.
10 minutes after the rally started, a paddy wagon packed with riot policemen arrived to the remand prison. Protesters were encircled, and there was an attempt to push them away. Riot policemen were seizing portraits from the hands of protesters and trying to tear them.
Demonstrators sat on the ground as a protest holding portraits of the political prisoners. Riot policemen surrounded the people sitting on the ground, preventing them from moving anywhere.
The deputy commander of the Internal Affairs department of Maskouski district of Minsk was in command of the policemen. He ignored the decision of the Supreme Court of Belarus that people with portraits in their hands do not violate the Law on mass events, and stated that an unsanctioned rally was held in front of the remand prison.
Participants of the peaceful rally were harshly driven away from the territory near the remand prison. Riot policemen were hitting the protesters in the back, kidney area and legs. Riot policemen were doing that sneakily, by fists and legs. A former political prisoner, a youth leader Andrei Kim was beaten up. Demonstrators were in fact led under police escort to Frunzenskaya metro station with systematic blows being delivered.
Solidarity rallies of solidarity with Mikalai Autukhovich who had declared a hunger strike, as well as with Yury Liavonau, Uladzimir Asipenka are to take place daily at 6 p.m. in Kastrychnitskaya Square in Minsk.