Hrodna: action of Union of Poles took place under police surveillance
At 1.20 p.m. two police officers and a cameraman came to the Polonika firm. They warned Andrei Pachobut, Chairperson of the Main Council of the Union of Poles in Belarus in disgrace, that activists of the organization were preparing an unauthorized action.
Mr. Pachobut answered that at 3 p.m. they wanted to light candles near a memorial sign to victims of Stalin’s repressions and that the actions would take place in conformity with the Constitution. The memorial sign hangs on the wall of the UPB headquarters which is now occupied by the pro-governmental Union of Poles.
Later, about 300 people gathered near the Polish House in Hrodna to support the Belarusian Poles who are harassed by the country’s authorities. They held in their hands Polish flags and sang songs. The police warned that the action was unlawful and videoed the participants.
Anzhalika Borys, Chairperson of the UPB in disgrace, delivered a speech. She said that 5 000 signatures had been collected under the address to Aliaksandr Lukashenka requiring to legalize the organization. ‘Nevertheless’, pointed Mrs. Borys, the letter remains unanswered.
’Poles must struggle for their right to normal life guaranteed by the Constitution of Belarus’, she added.
The action ended at 3.25 p.m. without detentions and any other police interference.
Prior to it, on 8 February the police and court marshals visited the Polish House in Ivianets owned by the UPB. The house was ringed and members of the UPB in disgrace were forcedly led out.
The Union of Poles was split up in two by the Belarusian authorities in 2005. The part of the Union that is loyal to the authorities became officially recognized, while members of the other one, headed by Anzhalika Borys, are harassed by the authorities.
On 9 February it became known that Henryk Litvin, Polish Ambassador to Belarus, was revoked to Warsaw in protest against the harassment of the Polish minority.