Post-election protests. Day 4
Around 700 people were detained last night after riot police again violently dispersed dozens of peaceful protests in Minsk and other cities of Belarus, including Hrodna, Mahilioŭ, Homieĺ, Brest, Viciebsk, Barysaŭ, Baranavičy, Babrujsk, Lida, Fanipaĺ, Rahačoŭ, Navapolack, Smaliavičy, etc
Excessive violence, stun grenades and rubber bullets were used again, despite the fact that the protests were peaceful.
Last morning, several hundred women wearing white clothes and holding flowers gathered in central Minsk to protest the unprecedented violence on the part of the law enforcement.
Later, a similar protest was staged by several dozen medics who lined up outside the Medical University in Minsk to demand an end to violence. One protester was reportedly detained.
The law enforcement continued to detain journalists, despite a statement by the Interior Minister who promised “not to touch reporters”. Vital Tsyhankou, Radio Svaboda reporter, was detained together with his wife. Two Belsat TV journalists, Liubou Luniova and Dzmitry Soltan, were also held.
Two Ukrainian human rights defenders, Konstantin Reutski and Evheny Vasiliev, were detained yesterday on suspicion of involvement in “plotting riots”.
On similar bogus charges, the authorities also arrested five members of Viktar Babaryka’s campaign headquarters.
Aliaksandr Vikhor, a 25-year-old resident of Homieĺ, died yesterday after his arrest in a post-election protest on Sunday. According to his mother, the man did not participate in the protest, but was arrested by mistake when going to see his girlfriend. Human rights defenders continue to receive reports indicating that the nation-wide police violence targeted hundreds of random people.
A total of 6.7 thousand people have been detained since the outbreak of post-election demonstrations on August 9. However, Viasna knows the names of only nearly 3 thousand of them.
Only a few have stood trials, while the majority continue to languish in inhumane conditions, described as “concentration camps” by human rights activists and "pure hell" by the detainees themselves. The detainees’ families waiting outside the detention center in Žodzina can hear the prisoners moaning and screaming in pain.
Nikita Telezhenko, a journalist working with the Russian media Znak.com, who was detained in Minsk on August 10, says the detainees are subjected to degrading conditions and routine violence.
“There, violence was used against everyone without exception: any question that the police did not like immediately turned into beatings. People were screaming, people were peeing themselves in pain.
And all this was happening while all the other police officers remained perfectly calm, while, in fact, they must protect people. They relish it. They made people pray when they started beating them. They say: “Read Our Father!” And then they beat the s..t out of them with their truncheons and. They beat me on the head, beat me on the legs. The man who was being led in front of me was smacked against the doorframe just for fun,” Telezhenko said after of what he witnessed at the Maskouski district police department of Minsk.
In response to the unprecedented violence against peaceful protesters and detainees, the Human Rights Center "Viasna" and the World Organization against Torture (OMCT) have launched a campaign to document cases of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of protesters.