Report on the monitoring of "Charnobyl Way" action on April 26, 2018 in Minsk
The traditional procession "Chernobyl Way", dedicated to the 32nd anniversary of the Chernobyl APP accident, was held on April 26, 2018 in Minsk.
- The meeting was exclusively peaceful (when "the organizers have peaceful intentions and the meeting is non-violent" in accordance with the Guidelines on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly of the OSCE). Participants did not call for violence, war, discrimination and did not use violence.
- The need to obtain permission to conduct a meeting, an arbitrary change in its format and a reduction in the time for holding a meeting by the authorities is a disproportionate restriction on the right to peaceful assembly.
- During the march and rally there was no opportunity to identify law enforcement officers, as they were all in civilian clothes, which hinders the definition of their functions and does not facilitate effective communication.
- Law enforcement officials did not interfere with the monitoring and the work of the media.
- The traffic police did not ensure the unhindered movement of the column of participants through the crossroads, which caused the break of the column and slowed its movement. In the course of the demonstration, traffic policemen made sure that participants didn’t go to the roadway and, using sound reinforcement equipment, several times demanded to return to the sidewalk and observe the road laws, which directly establish the right to peaceful assembly below the traffic rules. We draw attention to the fact that international human rights standards allow the use of the carriageway to express freedom of assembly.
- No detention of the participants in the meeting was reported.
- RPPO "Belarusian Helsinki Committee" and Human Rights Center "Viasna" conduct systematic monitoring of peaceful assemblies in the Republic of Belarus on the basis of the developed monitoring methodology. It includes: recruiting and training observers for public control principles, international standards for peaceful assemblies and monitoring methodology; filling in the questionnaire during the actual inspection; processing of questionnaires and writing a monitoring report.
The monitoring forms for peaceful assemblies were developed jointly by human rights organizations and include questions about the possibility of observers and journalists to perform their functions, the behaviour of the organizers and participants of the peaceful assembly, law enforcement officials, and the presence of an ambulance at a peaceful meeting. Observers are allowed to be monitored only if they agree to observe the rules and principles of observation (independence and political neutrality, the description of facts, not opinions, non-interference in the event observed, adherence to the principles of law: rejection of all forms of violent actions and discriminatory practices, correct behavior).
- During the performance of their duties, observers stay separately from the participants. They are indicated by the observer's badges and blue waistcoats with the inscription "#ControlBY".
- Information about the action was distributed through the media and social networks.
- On April 2, the political parties The Belarusian People's Front, The United Civil Party, The Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada), The Movement “For Freedom”, the organizing committee for the creation of The Belarusian Christian Democracy Party, The Belarusian Green Party, The Solidarity Movement “Razam”, the social association "Ecohouse" applied for the action "Chernobyl Way". April 20, it became known that the application was approved, but with some changes: the gathering of participants was transferred from the place at the Academy of Sciences to the site in front of the Kastrychnik cinema, the rally was moved to the site near Chernobyl Chapel in Park .
- During the meeting 12 representatives of independent supervision (who had recieved training) were identified accordingly and monitored the action Three of them represented the International Network of Observers. They were marked with yellow waistcoats with the inscription "observer" and had a certificate with them.
The course of the peaceful assembly
During the peaceful assembly, the following facts were noted:
- Prior to the action, the officers of the field-engineer and pyrotechnic service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs checked the green plantations and flower beds near the gathering place with a metal detector and a dog.
- The stairs leading to the hall roof of the Kastrychnik cinema were closed, the access to the backside of the cinema was restricted.
- At the place of the gathering, behind the Kastrychnik cinema and on the neighboring streets there were at least 6 paddy wagons, 4 buses and a van with a portable fence.
- At the gathering place, during the march and on the place of the rally, there were at least 50 officers and law enforcement officers in civilian clothes with distinctive features (headphones, hand cameras). The representatives of the the Sovietsky District police department and the Main Department of Internal Affairs of Minsk presented at the gathering site.
- The first participants began to gather around 17.10 near the Kastrychnik cinema
- At about 5.30 pm on the side of the Academy of Sciences, 5 people started the action with posters (posters depicted photos and slogans: "Freedom to Avatarau", "Freedom to Paliyenka", "Freedom to the people", "Freedom to Mikhail Zhamchuzhny"). At 17.50 a representative of the police information group came up to the participants of this action used the fires.
- At 18:30 the participants lined up in a column and at 18.32 the column began moving along the sidewalk. There were participants with dogs in the column.
- During the movement the column was accompanied by traffic policemen and special transport (with cameras, traffic police cars, buses with people in the uniform of traffic police). The presence of an ambulance was noted.
- During the movement of the column along narrow parts of the sidewalk, from the traffic police car, using the sound reinforcement equipment, the requirements for compliance with traffic rules and the prohibition of movement of participants along the carriageway were voiced. The traffic police officers broke the movement of the column at traffic lights.
- Around 19.33 the column reached the Chernobyl Chapel in Dryzhby Narodau Park, where a rally continued for an hour on the site near the church.
- The meeting began with a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the Chernobyl disaster. Then the priests made a speech about the fact that man is responsible for the nature given to him by God. The participant in the liquidation of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant said that he was deprived of benefits, and the money saved on benefits did not go to the development of the affected regions, as promised by the authorities. The regions affected by the Chernobyl Disaster are still in decline. The speakers drew attention to the danger of construction and launching of the Ostrovets nuclear power plant and the construction of environmentally hazardous plants in Brest and Svietlahorsk, the authorities' unwillingness to reckon with the opinion of citizens on these issues. Organizers called on citizens to protect their environmental rights. The meeting ended with the singing of the anthem "Powerful God" and the laying of flowers and candles to the memorial sign.
- The rally ended at 20:29 and participants began to disperse.
- Organizers were identified by name-tags, had a speaker. Participants and participants followed the requirements of the organizers.
- The number of participants was up to 425 people.
- It was noted that four participational wore gas mask on the law enforcement requirements they took off the masks. It was obvious that the use of gas-protection masks was part of an image and corresponded to the topic of the peaceful meeting, and was not the purpose of concealing faces to commit unlawful acts.
- The ways to the rally place in Druzhby Narodau Park were protected by portable metal sections and the white-red ribbon. Inspection of the participants was not conducted.
- During the rally aerial drones were noticed.
- Used slogans: Freedom to political prisoners; Long live Belarus; There is no atom of peace, even children know it; The budget went to the nuclear power plant - there is no money for salaries; No nuclear power plant in Belarus; Do not want freak animals. Against nuclear waste; Do not want freak children; To remember is to fight; We believe, we can, we win; Enough to be afraid, it's time to resist; Astraviec is the second Chrrnobyl; The way can be different; Your silence is a sign of agreement; Up to what regress came - with naked a**, but with nuclear power plants.
- Used posters: socio-economic Chernobyl is much more terrible than nuclear Chernobyl! for the last 25 years the population of the Republic of Belarus has decreased by more than 700 thousand people ...; the party of defending of folk interests, the party of BNF; the way can be different; There are only miracles around; Everything is normal; not next chernobyl; poster with QR code containing the link: http://ecohome-ngo.by/hronologiya-neschastnyh-sluchaev-i-avarij-na-belaes/; Chernobyl only 32 years after the explosion, 1 year before the launch!; forward to a brighter future; don’t act, sit and keep silent; CHERNOBYL is not at all 30 - it is forever. Provide the population with truthful information. A contaminated area should know the rules of safe living; To stop the production of agricultural products in contaminated lands; "To this day, no one has clearly reported how the nuclear power plant will be built into the energy system of the country (C) Lukashenka; To stop lawlessness is to save the nature; No to destroying of green zones. – The building-up in 60 Anniversary of Revolution, - The project of building-up and destroying of trees Serdzich 12; don’t sow death; Freeze the construction of chic, nomenclature Drozdi. To release all money for medical equipment and treatment of the population; freedom from dictatorship; 1986 Charnobyl, 1995 Fasсism, 2018 Astraviev; but what if that; Chernobyl Way; Live the independent Belarus.
- Numerous symbols were used at the place: white-red-white flags; white-red-white flags with the emblem “Pahonia”; flags of the United Civil Party, the Green party and the Tell the Truth campaign; flags of Ukraine and Armenia;
- Other subjects: the icon "The Godmother of Chernobyl victims"; black and green balloons; metal bell; model-simulation of the reactor of the Astraviec nuclear power plant with the inscription "we are not guilty, it fell itself";
To law enforcement officers:
- In accordance with Art. 5 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus "About internal affairs authorities" "the activity of the internal affairs officers is public". Guided by this rule, we propose that all employees maintain public order during mass events in uniform, and also stay identified by identification means (name-taps or badges).
- Ensure the free movement of the column of participants at traffic lights and crossroads. If necessary, allocate a line on the carriageway for the pass of the column.
- Representatives from the Information Group of Minsk Main Department of Internal Affairs are at the beginning of the column and provide the necessary information.
To the executive authority (Minsk City Executive Committee):
- Abstain from an arbitrary change of the place, time and format of peaceful assemblies.
Subjects with the right of legislative initiative:
- Initiate changes to legislation to bring it in line with international standards for freedom of peaceful assembly.
To the organizers:
- If possible, organize a squad and negotiate with police officers about ensuring public order and free movement of the column.