People's Assembly: chronicle of persecution
On 12 November the second People's Assembly was held
in many cities and towns of Belarus.
Some of its participants were detained preventively, and some others – during
Entrepreneur Valery Repnin was detained while driving away from his house on his car. Police captain Kanaplitski told him that the car was allegedly wanted. As a result, Repnin was taken to the Savetski District Police Department. Human rights defender Anatol Paplauny thinks that Valery was detained because of his active participation in the previous assembly.
After 1 p.m. the police also detained journalist Anatol Hatouchyts and opposition activist Uladzimir Niapomniashchykh near the Culture Palace of the Deaf “Vipra”. They were taken to the police station in Fadzeyeu Street. Five more detainees were kept there together with them.
Valery Sliapukhin, an organizer of the People's Assembly, was detained preventively. Mikola Bianko, a journalist for Radio “Racyja”, was detained while covering the assembly and was taken to the Chyhunachny Districft Police Department of Homel.
Among the detainees there were also activists of the “Revolution through Social Network” Zmitser Karashkou, Illia Mironau, Vasil Takarenka and Kseniya Yaraslautsava, a member of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Viktar Adzinochanka, civil activist Yury Zakharanka, “Young Front” activist Andrei Tsianiuta and some youngsters whose names remain unknown.
All detainees were released three hours after the detention. Valery Bianko was taken on the city outskirts and left there. At present he prepares a complaint about the unlawful actions of the police. According to Leanid Sudalenka, charges under Article 23.34, “violation of the rules of conduct of mass events” were given to two people – Dzmitry Karyshkou and Kseniya Yaraslautsava. Both of them were charged on two episodes – 8 October assembly and 12 November assembly.
At about 1 p.m. the police detained an organizer of the People's Assembly, Viktar Ivashkevich, on Banhalor Square. He was taken to the Tsentralny District Police Department of Minsk. Those who were giving interviews were videoed by people in plain clothes. Political activist Vintsuk Viachorka was detained at about 1p.m., while giving an interview. An unknown man was detained near “El Pomidoro” restaurant, not far from Banhalor Square. He was put into a minibus without number plates.
According to BelaPAN, the police also detained four national-Bolsheviks – Pavel Hushcha, Valery Kabernik, Yauhen Kontush and Ulad Lobau.
Siarhei Kavalenka, who has been sentenced for conditional imprisonment for hanging out a white-red-white flag on the main New Year Tree of Vitsebsk in 2010, was detained preventively and kept in the police inspection till the end of the assembly.
27 people took part in the assembly. It was impossible to get in the city park, as it was blocked by people in plain clothes. The assembly was opened by Viktar Tsiapin, who read out the answers of the National Bank and the Ministry of Labor to the questions of the resolution of the 8 October assembly. After this, a speech was delivered by Aliaksandr Halkevich, a member of the Baranavichy City Council. The secretary of the assembly, Viktar Syrytsa, stated that the Baranavichy City Executive Committee and the Baranavichy City Council hadn't answered the questions of the previous people's assembly. No resolution was adopted this time. The present people cheered themselves up with applause and dispersed.
The head of the organizing committee of the assembly, Viktar Meziak, was detained several minutes before the beginning. He was taken to the Baranavichy City Police Department, where a violation report was drawn on him. Viktar Syrytsa, Anzhela Kambalava and Ryhor Hryk paid a visit to the city police department to find about Meziak, but were told that he wasn't there. The activist says that he was kept in room 114 for about 90 minutes.
Siarhei Karpenka, a journalist for the TV-channel “BelSat”, was detained during the People's Assembly. Civil activist Siarhei Karaban was taken to the police station together with him. Both of them were kept there for three hours. The detainees were told that somebody had set afire the doors of the local House of Poles and they needed to give explanations about it. As it was found later, unidentified persons tried to set fire to the doors one or two days before the assembly. The policemen also wanted to take away the video camera from Siarhei Karpenka. Bear in mind that the journalist has been detained several times this year, and the local prosecutor threatened him with bringing a criminal case.
At 7 p.m. on 11 November police captain Aliaksandr Khudzko came to the apartment of Ivan Bedka, the leader of the organizing committee of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Party in Slonim. The policeman warned him against taking part in the People's Assembly. He also stated that he would be arrested if he came there, and also told Bedka to inform another BCD member, Ales Masiuk, about it.
The people's assembly in Slonim didn't take place. An hour before the action the city park was blocked by people in plain clothes and police officers. Some of them stood at the park entrance, while others were sitting in cars, watching passers-by.
However, members of the democratic forces of Slonim gathered at a private apartment to discuss the political and economic situation in the region and in Belarus.
Yauhen Parchynski, an organizer of the People's Assembly, spent two hours at the police station. The matter is that several days ago he had received a summon to the police, for the time of the assembly. There it was stated that he was a witness of some crime and needed to identify the criminals. Of course, there were no “criminals” there, and Parchynski just had to waste his time. As a result, the assembly was held without him – about 20 people gathered in a yard on Parkavaya Street.