Young opposition activist Pavel Vinahradaw arrested by police over «pig protest»

2013 2013-09-30T12:48:46+0300 2013-09-30T12:48:46+0300 en

The 25-year-old Vinahradaw, leader of Zmena (Change), the youth wing of the “Tell the Truth!” movement, and his associates stood in the square for several minutes, holding pig heads that featured a number of messages, including, "Even I didn`t vote for Luka," "Sasha, don`t be a pig, release the political prisoners," "Why did they raise salaries for officials and not doctors?"

As Mr. Vinahradaw`s wife told BelaPAN, her husband was grabbed by police near their house and driven to the Maskowski district police station.

"The police also picked up Pavel`s father, who happened to be there by accident," she said. "No charges so far have been brought against them, but they have been searched and had their shoelaces seized. This means that they will probably stand trial."

In May 2011, Mr. Vinahradaw was sentenced to four years in prison in connection with a post-election protest staged in the Belarusian capital city on December 19, 2010. He was among 11 post-election protesters pardoned by Alyaksandr Lukashenka on September 14, 2011.

In April 2012, Mr. Vinahradaw was placed under "preventive" police supervision. He is prohibited from leaving Minsk without police permission and required to stay at home from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. and report to probation officers on a regular basis.

Last year Mr. Vinahradaw stood trial at least 10 times for various minor civil offenses and spent a total of 66 days in jail.

In particular, he served a 10-day and a five-day jail sentence for so-called toy protests, in which teddy bears and other soft toys were displayed holding miniature signs calling for freedoms and the release of political prisoners.

He served his most recent jail term between April 22 and May 4, 2013 for planting a white-red-white flag and an image of imprisoned former presidential candidate Mikalay Statkevich in downtown Minsk.