Monitoring of “Dziady-2014” in Minsk
An action dedicated to Forefathers' Day and organized by the Conservative-Christian Party Belarusian Popular Front was held in Minsk on November 2 and monitored by members of the Human Rights Centre “Viasna” and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee.
The authorities authorized it in the following form:
10.30 a.m. - gathering near the Watch Factory in Nezalezhnastsi Avenue, 95;
11.00 – procession to the Kurapaty forest along Nezalezhnastsi Avenue, Kalinouski, Siadykh, Karbyshau, Hamarnik and Mirashnichenka streets, then – along the Minsk ring road;
2.30 p.m. - 5 p.m. - memorial rally in Kurapaty.
BHC and “Viasna” observers monitored the procession on its whole route, as well as the conclusive rally. The information was posted under the hashtag #dziadywatch in Twitter and at the Facebook account of HRC “Viasna”.
10.50 a.m. - Police are present at the place of the gathering. Enforced patrols of policemen in uniform can be seen at the exits from the metro station “Park Chaliuskintsau”, as well as about 16 people in civvies.
11.05 - A policeman expels an observer wearing a badge from an underground pedestrian crossing near the metro station “Park Chaliuskintsau”, without giving any explanations.
11.12 – the procession starts moving along the avenue. The observers count about 250 demonstrators. There are no policemen in uniform, just one road policeman and about 20 people in mufti.
11.20 – A police minibus moves along the procession, shooting it on video. The number of action participants increases – now there are more than 300 people. The number of “people in civvies” is larger too – about 35.
11.35 – the procession follows its route without any obstacles, chanting “Long Live Belarus!” and “Glory to Ukraine!”, carrying national white-red-white and Ukrainian blue-yellow flags.
12.10 – there are about five people in mufti at the end of the procession. At the beginning of the column, people in mufti are shooting the procession on video. The number of action participants increases to 400 people. The organizers of the event are at the head of the column. They wear badges.
12.15 – At the middle of the procession, some people chant “Faith, party, state!”. Demonstrators carry banners with the inscriptions “Let us commemorate Kurapaty victims!”, “Let's save Belarus from Russian imperialists!”, “Dziady”, “Conservative-Christian Party BPF”, etc.
12.30 – Traffic policemen provide the procession with the opportunity to cross the streets at red lights.
12.32 - Siarhei Bakhun and one more demonstrator are detained at the metro station “Uskhod” by the metro guards. Later they were released.
12.45 - At the crossing of Siadykh and Usesviatskikh Streets a man swears dirtily to the demonstrators from a balcony. The police pay no reaction to his actions.
12.50 - Pavel Seviarynets expresses the hope that participants of the assembly of the Belarusian Language Society, held at the International Educational Centre, will join the demonstration.
1.00 p.m. Security of the demonstrators is provided by vigilantes who wear white-red-white armbands. One of the vigilantes wears reflective vest. He provides the transition of the column across the roads and interacs with officers of traffic police.
1.30 - Symbols of Belarusian Christian Democracy, Conservative Christian Party and Belarusian monarchists can be seen at the action.
1.35 - The procession moves along Hamarnik Street, counting some 340 people.
1.50 – People chant “Putin is bad”. An elderly man (possibly a provocateur) starts swearing in the column. People in mufti lead him out of the column.
2.00 –A possible attempt of provocation takes place near the house in Hamarnik Street, 14 a youngster, who is shooting the procession on his mobile, starts shouting “Where's the real red-green flag?”. The organizers of the event come up to policemen in mufti and ask them to remove the provocateur. The man proceeds with the policemen to a car without any special marks, by which it could be identified as a police vehicle.
2.40 – As reported by the observers, in the underground pedestrian crossing under the Minsk ring road the demonstrators chant “Putin is D*ckhead!”. In the Kurapaty forest, there are 5 people in mufti. The column is accompanied by about 50 people in civvies. At the ring road, there are 2 minivans About 20 people in civvies come out of them and proceed to Kurapaty forest.
Policemen uniform and the vests “Informational group” appear too. The number of demonstrators decreases to about 300.
3.10 – The rally in Kurapaty is over, the people start to disperse. Some of the demonstrators proceed to setting memorial crosses. At that time the police try to detain a woman and a youngster who carried a blue-yellow flag, but the demonstrators decisively protect them from this attempt. A photographer who is shooting this event, is pushed away.
At 4.10 p.m., after the end of the rally in Kurapaty, one of its participants, Aliaksei Dvaretski, is detained and guarded to the Savetski District Police Department. At about he 5.30 is released. On his release Mr. Dvaretski reportsan RFE/RL journalist about the detention of one more activist, Fiodar Burak. The both of them were accused of carrying Ukrainian flags during the procession. The policemen waved some papers in front of their faces, provoked them, threatened to break their bones and snatched them by the hair.