Mass arrests and beating of oppositionists in Minsk
More than 50 opposition activists were detained in Minsk and Belarusian regions on July 16, the Day of Solidarity. The democrats were arrested and beaten by mainly riot militiamen in mufti. Even journalists were detained.
Activists of the civil campaign "European Belarus" were arrested and beaten at the detention facility in Valadarski Street in Minsk. About 5:40 p.m., law enforcement officers in mufti ran up to "European Belarus" activists who were carrying out a rally of solidarity with political prisoners in front of the remand prison in Valadarski Street in Minsk. The militiamen started to beat the activists. 6 people were dragged to a bus and taken to the Maskouski district militia department of Minsk. Among the detained are youth leader Yauhen Afnahel, "European Belarus" activists Aleh Ladutska, Maksim Vinyarski, Palina Kuryanovich, Palina Dzyakava, Uladzimir Kumets.
Video from the rally dispersing available HERE.
The activists managed to inform over on the phone, militiamen were beating them up in the militia department as well.
"They began to beat me in the bus when I asked the people in mufti why we had been arrested. I got a strong blow into my side. In the Maskouski district militia department I asked these people to introduce themselves and show their documents. In response they began to beat us all. They were pulling Aleh Ladutska’s hair, beating Maksim Vinyarski at his legs, tearing someone’s clothes. Officers of the militia department didn’t react to this beating," activist of "European Belarus" Yauhen Afnahel told the website www.charter97.org.
Then militia officers started to detain youth activists allegedly to identify them. About 20 people, among them activists of "Young Democrats" Alyaksandr Syarhienka, Yury Fabisheuski, Mikhail Pashkevich, Syarhei Klyueu, Alyaksandr Stsepanenka, were detained near October square. All detained are in a militia station at "Kastrychnitskaya" metro station.
"Young Front" activists, who came with portraits of political prisoner Artsyom Dubski to Independence square near October square, were arrested. Among the arrested are Mikalai Dzemidzenka, Paval Kuryanovich, Ryta Karol, Zmitser Yasevich, Artsyom Litsvinau. The detained were guarded to the Maskouski district militia department.
A number of youth activists were detained on October square of Minsk in the evening July 16. According to Radio Svaboda, at least 10 people were detained. Youth leaders Andrei Kim and Artur Finkevich are among the detained.
Artur Finkevich, the leader of "Young Belarus", told the website www.charter97.org that riot militiamen in mufti had beaten him at his head in the Tsentralny district militia department, where he had bee guarded to with other detained. Youth leader and former political prisoner Andrei Kim was beaten up in a militia bus and in the department.
Riot militiamen arrested 5 activists of the civil campaign "European Belarus", Zmitser Barodka, Vasil Zhakau, Paval Vinahradau, Anton Mazneu, Uladzimir Prokharau, at St Joseph Church near Freedom square at 8:00 p.m. The oppositionists came to the church with candles to pray for release of political prisoners and return the church to the Catholic Church. The detained were guarded to the Tsentralny district militia department.
"Belgazeta" photo correspondent Vadzim Zamirouski was detained on October square in Minsk. The journalist was guarded to the Tsentralny district militia department though he had a certificate proving he works for the newspaper. Militia said the certificate was faked and fingerprinted the journalist. "Belgazeta" editorial staff confirmed Zamirouski was their photographer.
Rallies of solidarity were also dispersed in Baranavichy and Vitsebsk. About 10 people were, among them activists of "European Belarus", "Young Front", and "Young Social Democrats", were arrested in both towns.
After 9:00 p.m., militia officers began to release opposition activists detained in Minsk from the Maskouski and Tsentralny district militia departments. Contrary to the law, many of them had to spend more than three hours in militia departments.