Food Not Bombs – Bone in Police's Throat
On the eve of the World Hockey Championship in 2014, which will be held in Minsk , the authorities are trying to suppress any grassroots initiatives and clean the streets from anyone who spoils the "image" of a prosperous and socially oriented state.
For the second weekend in a row, activists initiative " Food Not Bombs" have been detained and dispersed during their street actions.
On Saturday, January 25, two activists and five homeless were detained in the park named after Simon Bolivar by plainclothes policemen. All detainees were taken to the Partyzanski District police Department. The police took their fingerprints and put down their passport information.
January 26, Sunday , riot police and plainclothes police officers came to another street action of “Food Not Bombs”, held not far from the metro station "Uskhod".
February 1 police again visited the dispensation of food in the park named after Bolivar in order to hold “explanatory work” with the aim to prevent the activists from coming there and discontinue the initiative "Food Not Bombs".
February 2, four police officers were waiting for the activists near the metro station "Uskhod" before the beginning of the free dispensation of food. They tried to disrupt it, but to no avail. One activist was arrested and taken to the Pershamaiski District Police Department, but was soon released. Other participants of the food dispensation say that soon after they left the site there arrived a police bus, apparently to arrest the remaining activists.
Activists of "Food Not Bombs" explain such interest on the part of the police by the upcoming IIHF World Championship 2014, which will be held in Minsk on 9-25 May. It is obvious that the authorities are trying to disperse any initiatives that focus attention on social problems and come out with their criticism.
Activists say that many people come to each action to receive warm meals. They talk with concern about the upcoming championship and express precautions that Minsk streets may be forcefully cleared from homeless people. The reaction of the police to dispensation of food by “Food Not Bombs” is a part of the large-scale clearing timed to the Hockey Championship. The authorities hope that the authorities will stop handing out food before the championship, ignoring the fact that many homeless and needy people keep coming to the actions to receive food.
" Food Not Bombs " is an international movement consisting of independent groups of activists protesting against militarism and poverty through free dispensation of food (usually vegetarian) to needy people. In Minsk, the first action took place in the summer of 2005, today the food is handed out every weekend in three places - the Mikhailauski park , a park named after Simon Bolivar and near the shopping center , "Shchastse" (“Happiness”), not far from the metro station "Uskhod".