Monitoring report on mass event "March of Angry Belarusians 2.0". 21 October 2017 in Minsk
On October 21, 2017 the protest "March of Angry Belarusians 2.0" took place in Minsk, organized by the Belarusian National Congress.
For several years the National Human Rights Public Association “Belarusian Helsinki Committee” and Human Rights Center "Viasna" have been conducting systematic observations of public events based on a monitoring methodology which includes: recruiting observers and training them in the principles of public control, in the standards of peaceful assemblies and observation methodology; in filling an observer's questionnaire during internal control; processing of questionnaires and writing a monitoring report. Questionnaires on the observation of public events were developed by the two human rights organizations mentioned, they include questions establishing whether observers and media have a possibility to function, how do the organizers of a public event, its participants and police officers behave, and also whether the ambulance is present. Observers are allowed to observe only if they agree to follow the rules and the principles of observation (independence and political neutrality; description of facts, but not opinions; non-interference into the event observed; commitment to the principles of law; refusal of any forms of violence and discrimination; appropriate behavior). During the fulfillment of their functions observers should stand apart from participants. They should be identified with observers' badges and blue vests with an inscription #controlBY
On the eve of the action on October 16, Mikalai Statkevich sent a letter to the Minsk city executive committee informing them of the intention of the Belarusian National Congress to hold an action of the March of Angry Belarusians on October 21, 2017 on Kastrychnitskaya Square in Minsk. The information about the action was distributed on the Internet.
During the mass event, 5 observers, who has been trained and were appropriately marked were continuously and continuously monitoring the process.
1. During the whole event the street action had exclusively peaceful character ("its organizers have peaceful intentions and the meeting has nonviolent character").
2. It was impossible to identify police officers during the street action because a considerable part of them was wearing civilian clothes.
3. Law enforcement officials did not prevent the monitoring and the work of the mass media.
4. The police officers did not organize the unhindered movement of the column along the sidewalk at the crossroads, but on the contrary demanded observance of the traffic light regime, that influenced the deceleration of the movement, the column rupture and the right to peaceful assembly were set below the formal rules of the Traffic Laws.
5. On the eve of the rally, Ales Abramovich, Henadz Faryno, Volha Lahvinovich, Ryhor Hryk were detained. After the action, Volha Nikalaichyk and Artsiom Charniak were detained and taken to the Centralny police department of Minsk, after that they were released two hours later.
What happened during the public event
During the mass action the following facts were noted down:During the mass action the following facts were noted down:
1. Participants of the action and representatives of the mass media began to gather on Kastrychnitskaya Square at about 13:50. The mass event itself began at 14:00.
2. Mikalai Statkevich announced a plan for the action: the gathering of participants and the march to Independence Square.
3. The activists unfurled the black banner "Lukashescu you are a freak, stop robbing your people".
4. Up to 150 people took part in the action. About 50 policemen were present in civilian clothes, they could only be identified as such by radio, headphones and other specific features.
5. At 14:15 the meeting participants began to move to Independence Square on the even side of Independence Avenue.
6. The speeches of the participants of the meeting contained the following theses: "We believe, we can, we will win!", banner "Lukashescu you are a freak, stop robbing your people", "Shura - do not be Yanukovych! Do not saw a golden loaf", “Freedom for political prisoner M. Zhamchuzhny, D. Paliyenka”, “Belarusian army is a serial killer”, “The repressive power reigns, the prosecutor's office, the police, the court, the president rob the Belarusian people”, “Freedom! Belarus lives”, “No to Decree Number Three - Lukashenka go away”, “Motherland, Freedom, Down with Luka the freak”, “Lukashenka the parasite, leave your office”, “Disgrace”, “No hazing!”, there were demands for the release of T. Avatarau, I.Valavik, F. Ivanou, A.Matskoits.
7. About 14:35 M. Statkevich thanks the assembled participants, announces the next action which will take place on March 25, 2018 on the occasion of Freedom Day.
8. During the march, traffic police were monitored by traffic policemen at all crossroads. A requirement for participants to pass in accordance with the SDA (on a green traffic light signal) was announced with the help of amplifying equipment that prevented the intensive movement of the column of participants through the carriageway.
9. On Independence Square sound reinforcement equipment worked, which created obstacles for voicing the requirements of the organizers and participants of the action.
10. At 14:45 the street action ended, the participants diverge. Obstacles to the work of the media and observers are not fixed.
To plan and announce the route of the action in advance, including to notify the executive committee about this.
To carry out more active communication with law enforcement bodies and participants, especially to pay attention to ensuring unimpeded traffic through crossroads.
To law enforcement officers:
In accordance with Article 5 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus "On Internal Affairs Bodies", "the activities of the internal affairs bodies are public". Guided by this rule, we propose that all employees maintain public order during mass events in uniform, and also be identified by identification means (badges or badges).
To identify a contact person from among police officers for communication with observers, the media and organizers of a mass event;
To ensure unimpeded movement of the column of participants through crossroads with the cessation of traffic vehicles.
To Stop the practice of detaining activists proactively, during the action, as well as bringing to administrative responsibility the organizers and participants of peaceful assemblies.