Activists detained ahead and after Freedom Day demonstration in Minsk
Some 2,000 Belarusian pro-democratic activists and ordinary citizens took part in today’s demonstration in central Minsk to mark the 95th anniversary of the Belarusian People’s Republic, Freedom Day.
The manifestation was authorized by the city executive officials, who however banned the use of flags and banners.
Local authorities imposed bans on all other rallies across Belarus.
Reports say the police detained several civil society and political activists, including Uladzimir Kapelkin, under-aged member of the Belarusian Christian Democracy from the town of Polatsk, who was detained while going to Minsk this morning.
Later, Minsk police detained journalist of the Nasha Niva independent weekly Tatsiana Haurylchyk, who was eventually released without charges one hour later.
According to information received from the demonstrators, policemen were ordered to detain those carrying flags, banners and posters. As a result, four protesters were detained following the end of the meeting. Two of them (Dzmitry Kavalhin and Stanislau Ramanovich) were reportedly later released without charges.
Two more demonstrators, activists of the European Belarus movement, Aleh Rahouski and Mikita Kavaliou, were detained while leaving the site of the meeting at about 3.20 p.m.
Meanwhile, observers of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” who monitored the rally say at least eight demonstrators were taken to Savetski District Police Department, including three Ukrainian nationals.