Minsk: St. Valentine Day action dispersed by riot police. Tatsiana Shaputska has cranial trauma
About 30 young democratic activists were detained by police as a result of the violent dispersal of the St. Valentine Day action in the center of Minsk. Riot policemen grabbed them by hands and feet and threw into paddy wagons. Two hours after the detention the police released the detainees without giving any charges.
At 6 p.m. about 40 people, predominantly members of the Young Front, came to Svabody Square for a traditional St. Valentine Day action. There were more policemen than action participants on the square.
As soon as the youngsters unfurled flags and streamers, riot policemen assaulted them. They knocked down several people, took them by hands and feet and pulled to the police cars.
She says she sustained the injury when a policeman tried to snatch a Young Front flag from her. She didn’t want to let the flag out of her hands, that’s why the policeman tripped her up. She fell down and knocked head to the ground.
Mikhail Pashkevich came to Svabody Square to receive the prize I Love Belarus. He was severely beaten by riot policemen after he stood up for the Young Front member Nasta Palazhanka. The policemen smashed his glasses and the statuette he had received as a prize.
Mikalai Dzemidzenka, Deputy Chairperson of the Young Front, described the treatment of the detainees in the police busses: ‘We were beaten in the busses and weren’t let to sit on the seats and had to sit on the floor. They didn’t let us talk and used obscene language all the time.’
When guys were packed in the paddy wagons, girls dressed in white-red costumes with angel wings proceeded along Nezalezhnastsi Avenue. They were ringed by the police and pulled them to the busses. Riot policemen pulled Yuliya Mikhailava and some other girls by the feet.
’In the busses, they threw us down into the passage, one onto another and didn’t let us sit on the seats. Can you imagine 70-year-old Nina Bahinskaya thrown down onto other people? One guy was sitting on a seat. A riot policeman threw him down and mockingly said that he didn’t have a ticket,’ said Tatsiana Shaputska, press secretary of the Young Front. After Tatsiana was released, she went to a meeting with a friend. She told RFE/RL that she was having a headache and started losing her balance.
She was taken to hospital #10, where she was diagnosed with a light cranial trauma and proposed hospitalization. However, Tatsiana refused.
The detainees don’t think there’s any sense in lodging complaints against the lawless actions of the police, because the standard answer to similar complaints is that ‘police officers acted within the frames of the current legislation’.
On 14 February, activists of the BPF Youth and the Belarusian Christian Democracy also handed out postcards with a poem by Vintsent Dunin-Martsinkevich. They were detained in Yakub Kolas Square in Minsk and were kept for more than three hours. Finally, the police confiscated the postcards and released the detainees without giving them any charges.
Here’s the list of detainees:
1. Ryhor Astapenia
2. Daryia Bakhar
3. Nina Bahinskaya
4. Mikhail Butylin
5. Pavel Chuduk
6. Katsiaryna Dalidovich
7. Mikola Dzemidzenka
8. Ales Kirkevich
9. Dzianis Kobruseu
10. Anton Koipish
11. Andrei Krechka
12. Viktoryia Ladzin (under age)
13. Yuliya Mikhailava
14. Nasta Palazhanka
15. Ales Pushkin
16. Krystsina Samoilava
17. Hanna Shaputska
18. Tatsiana Shaputska
19. Maryna Shydlouskaya
20. Mrs. Shydlouskaya, Maryna’s mother (name unavailable)
21. Illia Shyla (under age)
22. Ivan Shyla
23. Stanislau Stesik
24. Aliaksei Valabuyeu
25. Veranika Velihor
26. Uladzimer Yaramionak