May 19, 2010 in the office of the BPF Party a press conference was held in connection with the searches and arrests of some activists of the campaign "Speak the Truth!". It was attended by campaign activists and leaders of opposition political parties.
Photo by Barys Haretsky
The political scientist, activist of the campaign "Speak the Truth! Svyatlana Naumava called recent searches a political pogrom, which, in her opinion, had been held in response to the "popular vote for renaming of the Ulyanovskaya street in honour of Vasil Bykau".
"This political pogrom is nothing but an evaluation of our campaign. This is an answer to the question whether Lukashenka’s regime can democratise itself."
Svyatlana Naumava noted that the campaign had no relation to the Kremlin, as it had recently been stated in the press. The searches are an "unseemly reaction of the authorities to those rumours that circulated around the campaign", the analyst believes.
"The police beat yesterday not individuals but the truth," said the human rights activist Tatyana Protka. "The Intelligence service used the scheme of 1937. People were not informed what they were detained for."
According to the human rights activist, recent searches and detentions were used by the authorities to scare people. She believes that the case against activists of the campaign will not develop into a trial.
The chairman of the Belarusian Party of the Left "Fair World"Syargey Kalyakin said that the recent events would only add to the popularity of the campaign "Speak the Truth!".
"It is ironic but I want to congratulate the leaders of the campaign on yesterday’s actions of the authorities. This is a great success, since common people began talking about the campaign. Today, the authorities simply do not understand what they are doing."
According to Syargey Kalyakin, the instituted criminal case has a sheer political nature.
"It turns out that the authorities have made the truth a commodity. Under this article of law, all high officials who lie about the life of Belarusians should be put in jail."
The politician has called the authorities’ actions ordinary fascism and called upon democratic forces of Belarus for solidarity.
"The party has long supported the campaign "Speak the truth!". And we will do everything possible to help the aggrieved activists."
"Today, telling the truth is dangerous", said Leu Marholin, the vice chairman of the United Civil Party which activists were subjected to searches and interrogations. He compared the government's actions with fascism, too, and said that "the authorities would be sorry for their doings".
"Many UCP activists worked for the campaign "Speak the Truth!", and the party welcomed this", said Leu Marholin.
The political analyst and expert of the campaign "Speak the Truth!" Alexander Fyaduta said that activists of the campaign had not engaged in politics, and the authorities had taken punitive measures in response to the campaign for renaming streets after Bykau.
"It seems that the campaign has alarmed the authorities, because it involves different people – from communists to liberals. These people have been united by a common idea. And Lukashenka simply demonstrates his uncertainty to the East, the officials, and his secret services."
At the same time Alexander Fyaduta noted that, despite the repressive measures, signature-gathering action for renaming streets would be continued. He also said that the campaign would do everything possible for detainees to be released sooner.
Answering the question on further work of the campaign "Speak the Truth!" Svyatlana Naumava said that all its activists confirmed their desire to continue work for the campaign.
It should be recalled that May 18 searches were held in the Minsk office of the public campaign "Speak the Truth!" and in homes of its activists all over Belarus. Participants of the campaign were questioned within the criminal case instigated under Article 250 Part 1 of the Criminal Code (Spreading of false information about goods and services).
The chief editor of the newspaper "Tovarisch", member of the party "Fair World" Syargey Vazniyak, the leader of the campaign, the poet Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu and the UCP activist Andrei Dzmitriyeu are detained for three days as suspects in a criminal case and are in remand prison on the Akrestsin street.