6th day of action of solidarity: Mikalai Autukhovich hungers for 20 days already

2009 2009-05-07T17:08:01+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On 6 May the action of solidarity with political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich, who has gone on indefinite hunger strike, was held in Kastrychnitskaya Square of Minsk in presence of riot policemen and law enforcement officers in mufti.

At 6.00 p.m. dozens of activists of the civil campaign European Belarus and Young Front came  to the square for the sixth day. The oppositionists were holding portraits of political prisoners Mikalai Autukhovich and Uladzimir Asipenka. They also unfurled a national white-red-white flag and an EU one.

The participants of the action were shouting ‘Freedom to Political Prisoners!’ and ‘Long Live Belarus!’ dozens of riot policemen in uniform and in mufti were watching the events, filming the action. Riot policemen also stood in the square near the road.

The leader of the United Civil Party Anatol Liabedzka, the youth leaders and activists of European Belarus Zmitser Barodka, Alexander Atroshchankau and Maxim Viniarski, the participant of the ‘process of 14’ Maxim Dashuk and others took part in the picket.

Thought a hockey quarter-final match Russia–Belarus of the world cup is taking place at this time, the play wasn’t shown on the large screen in the square, where all important matches are usually broadcasted. The authorities were possibly afraid that too many people could gather in the square.

It should be reminded that rallies of solidarity with political prisoners are held in Minsk every day. Belarusians come to the streets expressing their solidarity with political prisoners. One of the political prisoners, Mikalai Autukhovich, continues an indefinite hunger strike which poses a serious threat to his life.

At the end of the rally youth activists called on Belarusians to come to Kastrychnitskaya Square of Minsk at 6.00 p.m. on May 7.

‘We adopted an address to the international society at a special presidium of the United Democratic Forces. We appeal to those who have direct contacts with the Belarusian authorities, who are proud of having a dialogue with Lukashenka. If Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg or EU High Representative Javier Solana have access to Belarusian high-ranking officials, let them address Lukashenka in order he to release political prisoners. In this case, we can say the dialogue has some sense. Now the case is in danger to people’s lives. We are OK, even those who stand in this human chain. We are at large, we can breathe. But Mikalai Autukhovich is on the 20th day of hunger strike. This is his last instrument of struggle. If people go to square, they have the heart that beats in Belarus’s breast,’ UCP leader Anatol Liabedzka told in an interview to the Charter’97 press center.

Alexander Atroshchankau, activist of the civil campaign European Belarus, believes the rallies of solidarity will lead to release of political prisoners.

‘Mikalai Autukhovich has been on hunger strike for 20 days. Any person, not necessarily politically active, a common person who can be sympathetic and express solidarity, must be here. I want to draw attention of the authorities and common citizens to this problem. Unfortunately, I don’t know Autukhovich closely, I’ve seen him a couple of times, but I know he is a man of honor and a man of his word. There must be more such people in our country. Taking into account physical state of Mikalai Autukhovich, his life is in danger. So, I must everything possible to attract attention to this situation and gain the release of the political prisoner. We all remember that political prisoners were released last year due to our rallies of solidarity. Every release is a victory of our solidarity. I am sure this happens this time, too,’ the youth leader said.