White-red-white flags banned at KHL games in Prague

2014 2014-04-04T16:42:25+0300 2014-04-04T16:42:25+0300 en

Belarusian fans are not allowed to use national flags during the games of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in Prague.

Prague police has found legal the actions of the sports arena guards who banned presence with white-red-white flags at the match of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) between Prague’s Lev and Minsk Dinamo on February 28.

BelaPAN has been informed about that by an activist of Belarusian opposition Alyaksei Shydlouski, who had been granted a political asylum in the Czech Republic.

“I attended that game with my friends, and I took a national white-red-white flag with my to support Dinamo,” Shydlouski said. “During the second period of the game guards came up to me and asked to hide the flag, as it contradicted some rules, however, they could not explain which ones. During the third period, they repeated their demands, and after I refused to fulfill their demands, they snatched the flag using force.”

After this incident Shydlouski addressed Prague police. He has received an official answer one of these days. It is stated that Shydlouski had violated several paragraphs of attending the games of Lev hockey club games, so guards’ actions were legal.

In spite of that, Shydlouski is going to attend further sporting events in Prague where Belarusian sportsmen participate with a white-red-white flag. “Unfortunately, Europe is losing its face of a human rights defender right now. In my case, like in other cases, Russian money wins unfortunately. In a private conversation I was told that some representative of Russian sponsors demanded to gram the flag from me,” he said.

In Belarus Shydlouski faced numerous occasions of persecution for his political believes. Thus, in February 1998 he was sentences to a year and a half of imprisonment charged with malicious hooliganism for making anti-presidential graffiti on the walls of houses in Staubtsy (Minsk region). In 2001 Shydlouski was sentenced to two years of correctional labour and evicted from the Institute of Modern Knowledge for his participation in activities of the unregistered youth movement “Zubr”. In late 2007 one more criminal case was opened against him on hooliganism charges. He could have been sentenced to up to 10 years of imprisonment. The reason for that was a fight in a shop which happened after a conflict with a shop assistant. Shydlouski and the shop assistant had a conflict because of a portrait of Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Shydlouski said that the flight had been provoked. He left Belarus before the court and was granted a political asylum in the Czech Republic in 2009.