Opposition activists mark 93rd anniversary of anti-Bolshevik uprising

2013 2013-11-25T18:11:43+0300 2013-11-25T18:11:43+0300 en

Organized by the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF), the event was held at the city’s soccer stadium, the opposition party’s leader, Alyaksey Yanukevich, told BelaPAN.

“The rally passed off without incident,” he said. “The Slutsk uprising is the 20th century’s largest armed revolt by Belarusians fighting for freedom and independence and for the ideals of the Belarusian National Republic.”

As the rally drew to a close, Mr. Yanukevich and Vital Amyalkovich, head of the party’s Slutsk chapter, were ordered by police to follow them to a police station and “provide explanations.” They remained at the police station on Sunday afternoon.

Hours before the rally, Ales Makayew and Ilya Dabratvor were briefly detained by police as they and some more fellow opposition activists stopped over in the village of Hrozava on their way from Minsk to Slutsk. They had laid flowers and lit candles at a memorial commemorating rebels killed by Bolshevik forces when the police interfered, describing the commemoration as an unsanctioned demonstration and taking the pair to a police station. They were released shortly afterward and managed to arrive in Slutsk in time for the rally.

The group had also planned to stop over in the village of Semezhava, Kopyl district, which hosts another memorial connected with the uprising, but traffic police pulled over their bus at an entrance to the village, ordering the activists to stay away from the locality and threatening them with arrest and charges. The activists chose to obey.

Members of the Conservative Christian Party held a separate rally in Slutsk on Sunday. It also attracted several dozen people and passed off without incident.

On November 23, police disrupted a screening of a documentary about the uprising in the village of Kazlovichy, Slutsk district, charging the organizers with holding an unsanctioned mass event. Seventeen people had turned out to watch the film.

The Slutsk uprising broke out on November 1, 1920. Appeals by the government of the Belarusian National Republic to Western powers and the United States for military aid met with no response. The Soviet government, faced with a mass revolt in Belarus, signed an armistice with Poland to free its hands for more effective suppression. The armistice allowed the Soviet government to transfer units from the Polish front and use them against the rebels. As a result, the uprising was suppressed by the end of December 1920.