Only about 20 people managed to get to ’Battle of Orsha’ feast
The traditional festival dedicated to the important historical date - the victory of Orsha in 1514 troops of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, was scheduled for 12 September this year. 8 September, the day of the battle, is celebrated as the Day of the Belarusian military glory by the opposition.
The mass action was banned by the authorities and the organizer received a warning about personal responsibility for holding the action. Nevertheless, those who wanted to take part in the feast went to the place of the gathering. Local police patrols stood on the road to the Krapiuna field and detained potential participants of the event. They stopped the cars driving to the village of Hatskaushchyna where the event is usually held. Then they also started detaining those who were going to an alternative site chosen for the feast.
The artist Ales Pushkin was detained at the railway station in Orsha. According to Mr. Pushkin, the police made more than a dozen people who came to the festival from Minsk get on the train going back to Minsk. The police checked Pushkin’s documents and let him go, so he decided to go to the event again. However, he was arrested again and left the office around 12 o'clock at night. According to RFE/RL, Leanid Achapouski, Artur Miranovich, Siarhei Niahasin and Dzmitry Savelyeu were kept in the police station together with him.
The Vitsebsk journalist Alena Stsiapanava was detained in the car of the Deputy Head of the BPF party Ryhor Kostuseu. The both of them were taken to the Dubrouna District Police Department (DPD). The reporter of the sites belarda.org and People's news of Vitsebsk Ihar Kazmiarchak was transported to the Orsha DPD, BAJ press service reports. The journalists were kept at the police station till late night, and the public transport stopped operating at the time of their release.
Mr. Kostuseu, spent about two hours in the Dubrouna District Police Department. His car was stopped three times on the way to the festival. Eventually, the police seized the documents of the car. The grounds for the detention weren’t explained. Instead, the politician was ordered to give an explanation of where and how he was driving, which he refused to do without being informed about the reasons for the detention. After this a traffic policeman composed a report for violation of traffic rules by Mr. Kostuseu (he allegedly had closed curtains on the windows of the car). Mr Kostuseu composed a written complaint against the actions of the policemen who were apparently protracting the time to prevent him from coming to the festival, whereas: the law allows composing reports about violators of traffic rules in loco, without taking the detainee to the police station.
Six Orsha citizens (including the folk singer Andrei Melnikau) who were going to the feast were detained and kept at the Orsha Town Police Department till late in the evening. In the morning Andrei Melnikau went to an alternative site that was chosen lovers bard to get together. He was met by a dozen people and played his songs live to them.
As said by a founder of the festival, Yury Koptsik, just about 15 people gathered at an alternative site of the feast. At night they were found by the police with the head of the Orsha District Police Department Mr. Mikhailau at the head. The policemen checked the people’s documents, but didn’t detain them, probably because they couldn’t get a paddy wagon there. Another youth group, consisting of about 7 people, wasn’t found by the police at all.