Crackdown on antiwar protests in Belarus cities and small towns
Forty-five days have passed since Russia attacked Ukraine. And that is how many days the Belarusians have been protesting against the war in which the territory of Belarus is involved against their will. At least 1,500 people have been detained for anti-war protests across the country since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops. Most of them are prosecuted in administrative cases, and some are subjected to criminal proceedings. Releasing balloons into the sky or wearing clothes and symbols in blue and yellow, laying flowers at the Ukrainian embassy, and honking one’s horn are the reasons to end up in prison in Belarus. Protests are held even in such small towns as Drybin, Dokšycy, Šumilin, and Ušačy. In addition, Belarusian “guerrillas” are waging a “rail war”. Where sabotage occurs, the law enforcers would raid entire towns: conduct searches, detain the locals and send them to serve administrative terms. In arrest protocols, police officers refer to the war as “Russia's military operation in Ukraine”. Viasna collected stories of how Belarusians expressed their protest against the war and have been persecuted for it.
Small town bravehearts
The largest anti-war protests took place all over the country on February 27 and 28, the first weekend after the war outbreak. In two days more than 1,100 people were arrested, and at least 630 of them ended up behind bars. The wave of detentions began on February 27, the main day of the referendum voting. Voters were writing anti-war slogans on their ballots and then gathered near polling stations to express their mass disagreement with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Although most people were detained in Minsk, there were protests even in the villages, not to mention in small towns and larger cities. In the main squares, at polling stations, and near administrative buildings–those who spoke against the war were detained everywhere.
For instance, on February 27, at the polling station in Šumilina urban-type settlement, Volha Tsiarentsyeva placed eight paper sheets reading “Against the war” on the commission's tables. The police officers who arrived at the polling station considered it an "unauthorized picket" and wrote up a report under Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code. Judge Ina Hrabouskaya found Volha guilty and fined her 640 rubles.
Aliaksandr Chartkou went to the main square of Ušačy on February 27 with a one-man protest. He was holding a sign reading “No to war!”. The court ruled to arrest him for 15 days of administrative imprisonment under Art. 24.23 of the Administrative Code, and ruled to destroy the anti-war poster.
Aliaksandr Karalkou was detained for a protest on February 27 near the Taločyn district executive committee. For one hour she spent in the city square in front of an administrative building, the court fined her 2,240 rubles.
There was a protest action near the polling station in the Dubroŭna district as well. Aliaksandr Bibchykau picketed in the town of Babrova with a poster “No War” written in red letters on a white background. Judge Maryia Tsyklinskaya found him guilty and sentenced him to 10 days of administrative imprisonment. The man pleaded not guilty in court.
On the second day of the war in the town of Drybin, Mahilioŭ region, a local came to the local executive committee. He stand there with a “No to War” sign for only 11 minutes before he got arrested by the police. In court, the man explained that with his action he was expressing a disagreement with the hostilities in Ukraine because his relatives live there. He also added that he was expecting other residents to join him and support his position. When asked by the judge whether he had taken permission for picketing, the man replied that “there was no time for that, because people are dying”. The court sentenced him to 7 days of administrative imprisonment and ruled to destroy the poster.
Andrei Yurkou, an activist of the “Movement For Freedom”, human rights and educational public association, was arrested in the village of Drybin district for calling to pray for Ukrainians in a video that he posted on his page on Odnoklassniki social network.. The man pleaded not guilty. However, he was sentenced to 7 days of administrative imprisonment under Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code.
A three-minute picket with a sign reading “Glory to Ukraine” near the City Culture Center in Dokšycy ended in a 13-day arrest for Tatsiana Dorts. She was arrested by traffic police officers who took her to the police department. According to the report under Art. 24.23 of the Administrative Code, while picketing the woman shouted “Glory to Ukraine”.
On February 27, Sviatlana and Viktar Tsahelnik came to the central square in Biaroza with an anti-war protest. According to Viktar, on that day he and his wife watched a video about the events in Ukraine, became outraged, and decided to express their position. His wife made an inscription on one sheet of paper, and the other painted in different colors. According to the case file, the protest lasted an hour, and then they got arrested. On March 4, the court sentenced Viktar and Sviatlana to fines of 50 basic units. In total, the family will have to pay 3,200 rubles.
Police officers in Kobryn drew up a report under Article 19.11 of the Administrative Code on a local resident, having considered the inscriptions on the ballot paper “extremist”. It is known that the man posted a “spoilt ballot paper with inscriptions promoting extremist activity” to a Telegram channel. In addition, for his refusal to show his passport he was also charged with “disobedience to a police officer” (Article 24.3 of the Administrative Code). He was fined 480 rubles. It is also known that a woman from Kobryn was fined 960 rubles for picketing near the Kobryn district executive committee on 27 February.
A mechanic of one of Kobryn enterprises was arrested for eight days for calling to take to the streets of Kobryn that he posted in the “extremist” Telegram chat Brest 97%.
On February 26 in the woods near Chaika resort near Žodzina nine people were taking photos with posters reading “Russian soldier, drop your gun” and “Me/We Against War” and holding white-red-white flags with Pahonia and Žodzina coat-of-arms of them. Police later identified at least two protesters using these photos which the participants of action had posted to a Telegram channel. The Žodzina city court found them guilty of "unauthorized picketing" and sentenced the man to 15 days of administrative arrest, and fined the woman 200 basic units (6,400 rubles).
The Lida district court convicted a woman who went to a single picket with a poster against the war and fined her 20 basic units (640 rubles).
In Liachavičy, police considered “two crosses and a heart-shaped figure” on the ballot paper as “extremism”. Tamara Patotskaya, the coordinator of the Tsikhanouskaya's 2020 election campaign, was convicted for “having sent a spoiled ballot with two crosses in red ink in the checkboxes ‘for’ and ‘against’ and a heart-shaped figure on the ballot paper, which contained calls for extremist activity”, from her phone “in order to obstruct the lawful activity of the referendum commission” on February 27, 2022. Liachavičy court fined Patotskaya under Art. 19.11 of the Administrative Code for 20 basic units (480 rubles) and ordered to confiscate her phone.
Persecution of Belarusians in the regions
Crackdowns over the war in the regions of Belarus continue. The first wave of mass detentions took place in the regions after the pre-announced anti-war actions. Law enforcement officers arrested people on the streets, drew up reports for participation in "unsanctioned mass events" and had people put behind bars. After the beginning of the ‘rail war”–intentional disruption of the railway infrastructure in order to prevent the movement of Russian military equipment on the territory of Belarus–in some cities law enforcers were searching for local “guerrillas” near locations where the sabotage took place. Those detained after searches are either kept in custody as part of criminal cases or placed in detention centers under administrative articles.
Navapolack: at least 80 people arrested, 20 ended up in jail
On 27 February mass arrests took place at polling stations in Navapolack. Everyone who took out a phone was arrested. A total of about 80 people were taken to the local police department. According to human rights defenders, more than 20 people were convicted for “picketing” at polling stations, of whom one person was sentenced to 12 days of administrative imprisonment, another one got 30 days, and the rest were detained for 15 days.
Voters were accused of damaging the ballot with various inscriptions, and the police drew up a report for this under Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code:
“In the presence of observers, the election commission and other citizens manifestly put marks in both ‘for’ and ‘against’ checkboxes, made inscriptions, and then took a picture of the ballot paper.”
The police used as evidence screenshots from the Navapolack and Polack 97% Telegram channel, where calls were posted to write on the ballot paper and take a picture of it. At the same time, the court determined that the voting booths were placed in such a way that the actions of the voters were visible to observers from the commission and other citizens, and the secrecy of the voting was adequately ensured.
An observer from the commission, who allegedly saw the detainee “manipulating the ballot paper”, testified in one of the trials. Among other things, he said that he “realized by the movement of [the detainee’s] hand that he was making an inscription on the ballot”. He wrote down the voter's personal data, which the chairman of the commission later gave to the police. According to the court, “taking a picture of a spoiled ballot paper is an expression of one's social and political interests”.
One of those detained was arrested for a message on the Navapolack and Polack 97% Telegram channel, in which he wrote: “Let's take to the square at 5 pm.” He was sentenced to 15 days in jail.
Volha Brytsikava, chair of the independent trade union Naftan was detained back on February 27. Since then she has already been tried three times. First, she was accused of photographing a ballot paper. As a result, the court sentenced her to 15 days of administrative arrest. A few days later Volha was tried for the second time. She got 15 more days in jail for wearing a “No to war” sign written in Belarusian, Russian, and English on her jacket. For the third time, Volha was tried for the same slogans displayed in the windows of her apartment. At the trial, she explained that on the other side of the papers she had written the words of a prayer for herself. In addition, she said that with her slogans she expressed her opinion about the situation in Ukraine, and she is granted the freedom of speech by the Constitution. The verdict was another 15 days in jail.
Human rights defenders were also informed that one of the detainees was accused of “damaging state property” for the word “f*ck” written on a ballot paper.
In the neighboring town of Polaсk 54-year-old Siarhei Khlebadar was detained at a polling station on February 27. The cause was a blue-and-yellow scarf he wore. According to the officers, the man thus took part in an “unauthorized picket”. Siarhei was arrested for 15 days.
Baranavičy: police raids in search for “rail guerrillas”
At least eight people were detained in Baranavičy on the main voting day. It became known during the trial that near school No. 10, where one of the polling stations was located, police detained a group of seven people. They were discussing the war in Ukraine while standing in front of the school.
As the case file of one of the detainees reveals, around 2:20 pm, a pensioner with a poster “Ukraine, we stand with you” came up to the people who were standing near the school. The police immediately demanded them to disperse, and some people left. Those who stayed near the woman with the sign continued their conversation. Some locals joined them for a few minutes until the police started arresting them. As a result, seven people were issued reports for an “unauthorized mass event”. It is known that three women were punished with fines of 65 to 90 basic units (from 2,080 to 2,880 rubles) and a man was arrested for 10 days for discussing the war. Also that day a guy with a sign reading “NO WAR” was detained in front of the Eternal Flame at the memorial of the fallen during the Great Patriotic War.
In addition, since mid-March, the law enforcers have been conducting a mass purge of those who were previously detained or convicted under political articles. It is known that among them they are looking for “rail guerrillas” who organize sabotage on the railroad. Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption (GUBOPiK) conducts searches on premises of local residents in the framework of the “railway” case under Article 309 of the Criminal Code (Intentional disrepair of a vehicle or communication lines). The detainees have their phones checked by security officers, and if the police find subscriptions to “extremist” channels or reposts from such channels, people get arrested or fined under Art. 19.11 of the Administrative Code.
According to human rights defenders, since February 24 at least 22 people have been convicted in Baranavičy, five of whom were sentenced to administrative arrests. It is also known that several people were arrested for photos they sent after the referendum to the Golos (Voice) platform, which was declared extremist. Judges Ina Paulouskaya, Mikalai Kmita, and Siarhei Danilchyk usually adjudicate administrative cases.
Dziaržynsk: Beatings, administrative arrests for ‘extremism’ and harsh detention conditions
In Dziaržynsk, since mid-March, police have been conducting searches of local residents and then arresting them. Some of them are reportedly beaten during detention. Locals said that Dziaržynsk temporary detention facilities are overcrowded and detainees are held in harsh conditions: the cells are cold, no mattresses are provided, and no parcels are accepted. People also said that during interrogations GUBOPiK officers beat people and force them to sign made-up protocols.
Thus, the law enforcers came to the Zubovich family with a search warrant because they distributed leaflets. The claim concerned the eldest daughter, but after the search, her parents were also taken to the local police station. Because the girl is pregnant, she was interrogated and released. But her parents, Yauhen and Natallia, were arrested and brought to the Dziaržynsk temporary detention center, despite the fact that they had a minor child left at home. According to the law, the mothers of minors are not allowed to be detained for more than three hours during administrative proceedings. It is known that the woman and the man were charged under Article 19.11 of the Administrative Code.
Apparently, police are looking for “rail guerrillas” who organize sabotage on the railroad and thus block the transportation of Russian military equipment. This suggests a criminal article, which was specified in the search warrant for one of the detainees. Thus, on the morning of March 21, GUBOPiK officers arrested a woman who has a minor child. The search warrant stated that the criminal case concerned the railway sabotage at the Kolasava station on March 18 (Article 309 of the Criminal Code). The woman's phone was taken away and the police drew up a report under article 19.11 of the Administrative Code for forwarding a message from the oppositional media Charter-97 to her daughter. She was fined 20 basic units (640 rubles).
Stoŭbcy: ‘guerrillas’ wanted
On the night of March 1 to 2 in Stoŭbcy logs were set on fire on the railroad to prevent trains carrying Russian equipment for the war in Ukraine from passing through Belarus. After that, it was also reported about railroad equipment damage near the Siniava station outside Stoŭbcy. After that, for two weeks there were mass searches, interrogations, arrests, and administrative trials of locals in the city.
The “purges” in the city were carried out by Minsk officers of GUBOPiK who were backed by the riot police OMON and SWAT teams. At least 35 searches and arrests are reported. However, people are intimidated and afraid to reveal that they were persecuted. According to local residents, some of the detainees were beaten by GUBOPiK officers. At the same time, the police and the prosecutor's office do not react in any way to the torture in the local police department. The local Telegram channel “Stoŭbcy Razam” also reports on the beating of the residents of Stoŭbcy.
If subscriptions to “extremist channels” or reposts from such channels are found on the phones, then the police make reports under Article 19.11 of the Administrative Code and detain people pending trial. It is known that some were sent to serve administrative arrests.
Pinsk: at least seven people tried
On February 27, police detained at least seven people at an anti-war rally in Pinsk. In the local police station reports under Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code were drawn up and detainees were accused of participation in "an unsanctioned mass event". As a result, Pinsk and Pinsk district courts sentenced two Pinsk residents Dzmitryi Harahliad and Yauhen Kalesnik to 15 days of administrative arrest, while another five people were fined between 20 and 100 basic units (from 640 to 3,200 rubles).
According to Harahliad, he happened to be at the scene of the protest by accident, but he confirmed that the conversation between the participants was indeed about the war in Ukraine. The police told the protesters to disperse and then began to arrest them. Dzmitryi asked the officers not to detain a pensioner and was himself arrested for that.
Ales Ramanovich explained at the trial that he had come to the protest rally on purpose to express his position. In addition, he said that the detainees were not fed in the temporary detention facility for almost a day. At the exit of the courtroom the convicts were notified by the prosecutor that the first and the second time the liability for unauthorized action is administrative, but the third time it will be criminal. Then he offered them to sign a paper saying they were aware of this information.
According to Belsat TV, one of the detainees named Zmitser N. committed suicide. After serving 15 days of arrest in Pinsk temporary detention facility he was fired from his job at the local power distribution network. Zmitser has been left without work and without any income. The younger son of the deceased has a disability.
Mazyr and Kalinkavičy: people charged for “staying in one place without moving in public”
On February 27, a group of six people who came from Kalinkavičy were arrested in Mazyr. An anti-war action was announced to start all over the country at 17:00. According to Palieskaja Viasna, people were detained on the initiative of a Mazyr district police officer. According to his report, “three women and three men, in front of other passing by citizens, stayed in one place for a long time without moving, thus publicly demonstrating their mass gathering”.
As a result, they were all charged under Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code for “staying in one place without moving in public”. They were tried in different courts: in Mazyr and Kalinkavičy.
It is known that the three women were fined 70 and 15 base fines (2240 and 480 rubles, respectively), and the man was fined 800 rubles.
Babrujsk: no to yellow and blue ribbons and writing on ballot papers
In Babrujsk the authorities are also fighting with those who express their disagreement with the invasion of Russian troops on Ukraine.
Thus, on March 4, in Babrujsk school No. 27 the teacher Larysa Sekerzhytskaya was arrested on the grounds of a yellow and blue ribbon in her hair. The math teacher was the first to notice. She denounced Sekerzhytskaya to the director, who called the riot police OMON. The court ruled that the teacher had put ribbons in her hair not for beauty, but to “express her social and political views in connection with the events in Ukraine”. Larysa was found guilty and fined 70 basic (2240 rubles).
Also, on 27 February three local residents were detained in the main square, where an anti-war action was announced to happen. The police officers indicated in the report that they, “having taken advantage of the public calls in social networks to hold a gathering of citizens in the squares, took an active part in the picketing”. None of the arrested pleaded guilty. As a result, three local residents were sent to jail for 15 days.
On the same day, a man got arrested at a polling station for writing “No to War” on his ballot paper. According to him, right after the voting, he took a picture of the ballot paper as a reminder that he fulfilled “ his civic duty”. After that, he went out of the voting booth with his ballot folded, walked to the ballot box, and dropped it in the ballot box. But the police officers claimed that the man demonstrated the ballot with the inscription to the whole commission. As the result, the man got five days in jail.
Protest in regions' administrative centers
Brest: arrests for pickets at polling stations and near the monument to Taras Shevchenko
In Brest, after the anti-war rallies on February 27 and 28, protesters were tried for calling and participating in unauthorized picketing against the war.
On February 27 about 60 people gathered at one of the polling stations. An OMON officer came to them and demanded them to disperse. One man replied: “I protest against the war”. After that, he was arrested. Another man was arrested in early March after he walked along the bridge with a poster “No to War” and shouted slogans. He said in court that this was his way of expressing his position on the events in Ukraine. It is known that three Brest residents were sent to jail for 7, 10, and 14 days, while two more were fined 50 and 70 basic units (1,600 and 2,240 rubles).
On the eve of Taras Shevchenko's birthday, a rally was to be held near the statue of the Ukrainian poet and writer, which is located on the boulevard named after him. The event was officially pre-authorized But the police did not allow people to the monument. As a result, law enforcement officers arrested prominent activist Aleh Vialau. He was sentenced to 15 days of imprisonment for violating the order of organizing and holding mass events under Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code.
While testifying in court, Vialau explained that he didn't even have time to get to the Shevchenko monument. Police officers asked him to show his ID, and when he refused, they offered him to go to the police car. The case file says that the rally that was authorized took place at 10 am without any violations, while Vialau arrived at about 12 pm, so his picketing was unauthorized. Aleh kept on a hunger strike during the entire arrest.
Viciebsk: people tried for laying flowers, wearing ribbons, and writing ‘No to War’ on a mask
On February 27, in Viciebsk at least three residents were detained during an anti-war action on the territory of The Victory Square Memorial Complex, also known as Three Bayonets. Katsiaryna Bekan was arrested for laying blue and yellow flowers. Another man was arrested for blue-yellow ribbons, which were attached together with white-red-white ribbons on his clothes. The third man's guilt was proved by personal messages on his phone, in which he wrote to his friends, saying he was going to the rally. They were arrested for 10, 12, and 15 days.
Another woman from Vitsebsk was jailed for 15 days for writing “No to War” on a medical mask.
It is also known that in the first days of the war a group of people marched in the streets of Vitebsk with flags and posters with an anti-war slogan on them. One of the women was punished for that with a 15-day arrest.
On March 15, Viciebsk activist Barys Khamaida was arrested for blue-yellow and white-red-white ribbons. He refused to remove the ribbon in the colors of the Ukrainian flag with the words: “At this moment in Ukraine children and women are dying under fire, there is an invading war, and therefore I will not take anything off.” He was convicted of “unauthorized picketing” under Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code. After he served his arrest, he said that he was in jail with Belarusians who spoke out against the war in Ukraine:
“According to my calculations, at the same time in the detention center with me for ‘politics’ there were 9 more people. I will not mention their names, I will only mention a few examples. There were two residents of Minsk, who had come to Polotsk to see the city. And then the war started, so they came to the Dzvina hotel with a sign reading “No to War”; they got 30 days behind bars. In jail, I met a guy from Rasony who, like me, was punished with 20 days in jail for writing an appeal to the district executive committee against the war. Another guy from Viciebsk wrote an anti-war poem and posted it on social networks. He was sentenced to, I think, 12 days in jail. A man from Navapolack was sentenced to 30 days for allegedly picketing during the referendum... In short, there are a lot of people who care now.”
Homieĺ: releasing balloons into the sky ended up in jail
Homieĺ police drew up reports on local residents under Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code for slogans against the war in Ukraine, for launching balloons in blue and yellow colors, and even for a “practical oriented scientific event” with the use of posters against the war.
For instance, on February 27 Iryna Kuchvalskaya held an “educational activities, practical oriented scientific event, using two posters with demands to citizens, who came to vote in the referendum, in order to influence their opinion about the events in Belarus and Ukraine”. The court sentenced her to 15 days in jail.
Three more women were convicted for calling for participation in protests. One woman was sent to jail for 15 days, while two others were fined 20 basic units (480 rubles).
A resident of Homieĺ was arrested for releasing blue and yellow balloons into the sky near a polling station and sentenced to 14 days in jail.
One of the local residents was jailed for “taking pictures on the bench, in the yellow and blue colors”.
It is known that at least three more Homieĺ residents were sentenced to 15 days in jail for slogans against the war.
Hrodna: nine people fined a total of 16,960 rubles
Nine Hrodna residents were fined for participating in an anti-war action on February 27. They were accused of gathering in groups after appeals to protest on Telegram channels and expressing their position on the events in Ukraine. They were fined 50 to 70 basic units for a total of 16,960 rubles.
Mahilioŭ: people tried for antiwar posters and ‘distributing extremist materials’
In Mahilioŭ the Belarusians also brought anti-war posters to the polling stations to speak out against the war. According to human rights defenders, three residents were placed in detention centers for 5, 12, and 15 days, and another two were fined 80 basic units (2,560 rubles). It is known that one woman was arrested for sitting on a bench and holding a sign “No to War”. Journalist Ales Sabaleuski was among those arrested and later detained.
In early March the riot police arrested Siarhei Isakau and Anastasiya Isakava in Mahilioŭ. According to MAYDAY TEAM, at first, their arrest was related to the “railroad case”, but then they were charged under Article 19.11 of the Administrative Code (Distribution of extremist materials). As a result, Siarhei was sentenced to five days in jail.
Minsk: at least 600 arrested, beatings and tortures reported
During the February 27 and 28 anti-war protests in Minsk, about a thousand people were arrested. Belarusians who took to the streets to voice their disagreement with the war in Ukraine were beaten during arrests, tortured, and held in detention centers in inhumane conditions. Some were not given food for days. Due to the fact that more than 600 people ended up behind bars, the temporary detention facility on Akrescina street was overcrowded, people were transferred to the detention centers in Žodzina and Mahilioŭ. No care packages were accepted for them and no medication was handed over. In addition, human rights defenders know of cases when judges ordered the arrest, despite the serious illnesses of detainees. Human rights defenders have repeatedly received information about torture and beatings in detention facilities in Žodzina and Minsk. People were taken to the shower room, locked there up and pepper gas was sprayed into the room. Yet Minsk residents are still protesting in all possible ways.
The reasons for which people are being prosecuted are different. Protesters face charges for flowers near the Ukrainian embassy, prayers in church, a flag on their shoulders, honking their horns at the action, and anti-war posters on the windows. Almost identical reports were drawn up for those Minsk residents who were detained on February 27 and 28. All of them were charged with participation in "unsanctioned mass events" and shouting slogans "No to War", "Glory to Ukraine", and " Long Live Belarus". Due to a large number of detainees, the judges considered some cases in seven minutes and stayed at work until 9 pm. It is known that in their reports police officers referred to the war in Ukraine as "the military operation of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine.
On the main day of voting in the referendum, people began bringing flowers to the Ukrainian embassy. The police first asked people to disperse, and then arrested some of them for participating in "an unauthorized mass event by laying flowers in blue and yellow.
Zhanna Trafimets from Minsk went to Kastryčnickaja Square in Minsk on March 1 with a one-person picket against Russia's attack on Ukraine. She held a poster "Stop the War" and yellow and blue balloons. The security forces detained her right along with her granddaughter. Officers of the Centraĺny district police department drew up a report for violation of Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code for unauthorized picketing and served a summons to appear in court. A day later the judge of Centraĺny district court of Minsk Tatsiana Akavitaya fined the woman 95 basic units (3,040 rubles).
A fifth-year student of the Belarusian National Technical University Mikalai Antanevich, who was just taking photos of Zhanna, was also arrested along with the woman. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail.
Another guy who walked along the Niezaliežnasci Avenue holding an anti-war poster was sentenced to 30 days of administrative imprisonment.
On March 3, mothers of Belarusian soldiers gathered in the Holy Spirit Cathedral to pray together to Mary for the end of Russia's attack on Ukraine. It is known that there were many plainclothes police officers inside the church; they acted as if they were married couples attending the church, but people saw their walkie-talkies. The riot police OMON guarded the building outside. Journalist Dziyana Seradziuk and her husband, Yauhen Batura, were detained by OMON on their way out of the church. Later they were sentenced to 15 days in jail for “disobedience to police” (Article 24.3 of the Administrative Code).
On February 27, police drew up a report against a resident of Minsk under Part 4 of Article 18.13 of the Administrative Code (Sounding one’s horn in the place of a mass event while driving) for honking his horn on Niezaliežnasci avenue. The court sentenced him to a fine of 160 rubles and deprived him of his driving license for 8 months.
At the beginning of March activist Halina Lahatskaya was detained together with her friend in the Zavodski district of Minsk for posting leaflets “No to War”. As a result, the court ruled to arrest Halina for 15 days and her friend for 25 days.
On March 10, law enforcement officers detained 32-year-old Dzmitryi Matsiushonak for writing “No war” on the window of his balcony. It was reported that his neighbor denounced him: he took a photo and brought it to the local police station. At the Kastryčnicki district police department a report was drawn up under Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code, according to which on March 2 at about 6.20 pm Dzmitryi “held a picket by placing the inscription ‘No war’ on the windows of his apartment”. As the result, the man got five days in jail.
Artist Ales Tsyrkunou was arrested shortly before the trial in the case of political prisoner Ales Pushkin. The reason for the arrest was white-red-white and yellow-blue ribbons on his shirt. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail for that.
The Lieninski District Court of Minsk sentenced a Minsk resident who placed a poster “No to War” on the window of his car to 13 days of administrative imprisonment.