Barys Khamaida assaulted by a bully. Police don't interfere
A 25-year-old guy demanded that Viciebsk oppositionist removed the embroidery with the prayer "Our Father" from the table, at which he distributes the independent press.
According to Barys Khamaida, things like that haven't happened to hims for about 1.5 years already: “Everything was like usual: I unfurled a white-red-white umbrella, put out newspapers and magazines. Suddenly a guy approached and started clinging to me: “Will you remove this cloth or I will tear it out for you!”. He started threatening me: “You are an old may, otherwise I would punch you!” and so on. Then he started phoning somewhere, continued to argue with me for some more time and eventually left.”
Mr. Khamaida believes that such aggression on the part of the young man could be provoked by the Russian propaganda spread in Viciebsk where Russian and Soviet flags are distributed. It's quite interesting that the incident took place in the center of Viciebsk, near the house in Lenin Street, 28. Viciebsk City Executive Committee and Viciebsk Regional Executive Committee are located nearby. There are many policemen in this area, and video cameras are everywhere. However, the police didn't interfere in the incident.
The Viciebsk opposition activist regards the white-red-white embroidery as a very important symbol, because of the prayer in Belarusian. This is a gift from the Viciebsk activist Antanina Pivanos, which has it's own history.
It was brought to Mr. Khamaida by her on March 25, 2008, as a gift. The police considered it as an opposition poster. As a result Antanina Pivanos was fined 2 basic units for alleged participation in an unauthorized picket. She didn't manage to challenge the court verdict and appealed to the UN Human Rights Committee after depleting all domestic remedies. The HRC took her side: it acknowledged a violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in respect of the applicant. According to the decision of the Committee, the Belarusian authorities are obliged to pay a compensation, reimburse expenses incurred by the activist and return the confiscated embroidery. However, it was not done. Instead, the embroidery was put for sale and was bought out by Antanina's friends.