Viasna office raided by police. 57 people briefly detained

2017 2017-03-25T16:19:03+0300 2017-03-26T18:34:01+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/vesna.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Police bus waiting outside Viasna's office during the raid on 25 March 2017. Photo: belapan.by

Police bus waiting outside Viasna's office during the raid on 25 March 2017. Photo: belapan.by

The Minsk-based office of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" was raided by the police at around 1 pm today. 57 persons were detained, but soon released.

Most of the detainees were volunteers that were expected to observe today's protest in central Minsk.

Others included international observers, representatives of foreign media and human rights organizations, including Macha Chichtchenkova of Frontline Defenders, as well as the chairman of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Aleh Hulak and Viasna's lawyer Anastasiya Loika.

The people were forced to lie on the floor and the place was searched. 

The detainees were then taken to the Pieršamajski District Police Department. As told by a plain-clothed policeman who supervised the detention and refused to show his ID, they were accused of "gangsterism and hooliganism."

Detained human rights defenders in a gym inside the Pieršamajski District Police Department of Minsk
Detained human rights defenders in a gym inside the Pieršamajski District Police Department of Minsk

As a result, however, all the detainees were eventually released.

"After we were brought to a gym, they started searching everyone. The policemen then read out the names and released us by threes," Anastasiya Loika said after her release.

One of the detainees, Aliaksei Loika, was taken to the hospital after he was beaten by riot police during the raid.

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