Actions in support of Ales Bialiatski and all Belarusian political prisoners held in different parts of Belarus (photos)
Baranavichy human rights defenders and social activists Siarhei Housha, Anzhalika Kambalava and Viktar Syrytsa held an informational action in Baranavichy dedicated to the second anniversary of the imprisonment of Ales Bialiatski. Two mobile groups of social activists walked in the city and the villages of the Baranavichy district, wearing T-shirts “Freedom to Ales Bialiatski!” with Ales's portrait and handing out information about him and other political prisoners.
“At present the authorities don't let us legally express solidarity with political prisoners, denying the very fact of their existence. They prohibited us to hold a picket in support of Bialiatski and other prisoners of conscience near the “Kastrychnik” cinema on 4 August. However, no one can prohibit us to have rest outdoors together with friends and families, take photos and talk with people. Today there turns two years since the arrest of the head of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski. That's why we decided to go to the villages and walk along the city's streets to express solidarity with Ales Bialiatski and other political prisoners,” stated human rights defender Siarhei Housha.
handed out postcards with Ales Bialiatski's portrait at the central
market. The postcards also contained the information that two years
ago the well-known human rights activist, vice-president of the
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), writer, literary
criticist, journalist, three-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize
is still kept in prison.
The action participants were very glad at the fact that very few people refused to take the postcards. Some of the people told they knew about Ales. The human rights defenders also reminded about other political prisoners, who are kept in jail for their views. The action went peacefully.
It's worth noting that the picket was organizers of the event received a picket ban from the authorities in the afternoon on 3 August. On 19 July, after filing the picket application, they also tried to enter into service contracts with the police, medics and public utilities. However, the executive committee stated that the contracts might be unnecessary, taking into account that just ten people were going to take part in the event. The public utilities composed the required contract. The chief physician of the Biaroza district hospital gave a written answer that it was impossible to conclude such agreement, as serving mass events was absent in the list of the paid services, provided by the medical institution.
As far as Biaroza District Executive Committee was to have answered the application five days before the event and violated the acting legislation by its late answer, the action organizers are going to appeal it at the regional executive committee and at court.
On 4 August, the International Solidarity Day with political prisoners and the civil society of Belarus, activists of the civil campaign “Tell the Truth” from Brest district expressed solidarity with Ales Bialiatski by sending him postcards with words of support. They also recalled about other political prisoners and discussed issues of human rights violations in Brest district.
Hrodna human rights defenders handed out several hundreds of postcards with a portrait of Ales Biliatski and information about his situation. For the two years, during which Ales has been kept in jail, Hrodna human rights defenders regularly inform the people about him, including public signing of postcards, issue of special envelopes and other events.
As we have already written, Hrodna authorities prohibited holding an informational picket timed to the second anniversary of the imprisonment of Ales Bialiatski. The officials violated the law by sending the action ban later than the legal term, on 3 August, and just to a part of the applicants. On the other hand, the police kept a vigilant watch in Kalozhski Park, where the human rights defenders planned to hold their event.
On 4 August Navapolatsk activists of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” handed out more than 150 colored postcards with Ales Bialiatski's portait so that people could sign them and send to him.
The action was held
near the large shopping center “Streletski capital”. People paid
a positive reaction to the action and eagerly took leaflets, as many
of them have already heard about Bialiatski before. Some of them also
voiced their support to the human rights defenders.
Apart from handing out the leaflets and postcards, Navapolatsk activists wrote personal letters of support to each of the Belarusian political prisoners, and continue gathering signatures under them among activists of democratic organizations and parties.
The staff reduction in Vitsebsk seems to have lead to a “system failure”. The matter is that human rights defender Pavel Levinau received an answer only to one of the three appeals for pickets in support of Ales Bialiatski. In particular, the head of the Kastrychnitski District Executive Committee of Vitsebsk V. Halanau prohibited him to hold a one-minute picket in Svaboda Square, and stated that even one-minute picket must be held not in Svaboda Square, but in an unfrequented park, in presence of the police, medics and street cleaners.
Meanwhile, the duty officials of the Pershamaiski DEC gave no answers. The deputy head of the Pershamaiski DEC T. Bahlai prohibited the human rights defender to hold his picket in the officially authorized place, 30-hoddzia VLKSM Park, whereas Mr. Levinau intended to hold his action at the agitation ground, in the yard of houses 39 and 39-1 in Maskouski Avenue. Thus, Mr. Levinau used this gift of the authorities and held two pickets on 4 August.
An action of solidarity with the imprisoned human rights defender Ales Bialiatski and other political prisoners was held in Zhodzina at 5-10 p.m. on 4 August.
Civil society activists and members of the Human Rigths Center “Viasna” walked in the center of the city wearing T-shirts “Freedom to Ales Bialiatski!”, rode their bikes and handed out informational materials about the imprisoned human rights defender, spoke with the people who asked questions and photographed one another.
The overwhelming majority of people accepted the information with understanding and sympathy, and some of them even expressed hopes for the prompt release of Ales. Others spoke about the negative situation in the country, the absence of an independent court system and the repressive machinery, created by the regime. None of the action participants were detained.
At the end of the action its participants took a collective photo of themselves in frong of a part of a large slogan “White-Black Pride”, made by fans of the Zhodzina football team “Torpedo”.