Updated at 17:19,07-01-2021

“They Broke My Nose.” Minskers Who Needed Medical Help After Detentions Speak


“They Broke My Nose.” Minskers Who Needed Medical Help After Detentions Speak
For Minskers Alina, her husband and her friend outing to the coffee house not far from Yakub Kolas Square, where a solidarity peaceful protest was held on 19 June, ended up with a trip to the Central Department of Internal Affairs… a broken nose, numerous hematomas and no unerstaning what they did wrong.

“We were just beaten, held back and thrown into a microbus by people in plain clothes. Nobody explained what we’ve done,” tells the young woman.

Alina with hematomas on her arms and bruises on her legs was later released as well as her friend. Her husband, on the other hand, was sent to the isolation centre for offenders before the court hearing which will take place on Monday. IT specialist Dmitry also got hurt that day. He and his girlfriend were cycling and rollerblading in the city centre. The guy got scratches all over his body, his lip and nose are broken.

“They hit me on the head, broke my nose and lip”

In the evening, Dmitry and his girlfriend found themselves on Independence avenue. He was rollerblading and she was cycling.

“We didn’t go to the protest purposely, we didn’t plan to stop anywhere, we were just moving along the avenue, in the direction to Yakub Kolas square. We didn’t scream any slogans, didn’t clap, didn’t provoke anybody,” tells the young man. “In that time the traffic was already blocked by Yanki Kupaly park and we were just stuck. My girlfriend took out the phone and snapped a few shots”.

After that, according to Dmitry, a prisoner transport vehicle drove behind them. There were other people standing next to them.

“Men ran out of the car and started to grab everyone and throw them into the prisoner transport vehicle. People began to run away, jump over the white fence, behind which was the park. Some managed to escape, including my girlfriend. I was holding the bike.

I tried to put it down and leave but I was knocked over to the ground, hit a few times and dragged to the prisoner transport vehicle and there they continued to beat me with their legs and hands. They hit me on the head, broke my nose and lip, hit me on my legs and sides.

“They Broke My Nose.” Minskers Who Needed Medical Help After Detentions Speak

There were other detainees in the vehicle. When I was sat down with my nose broken, a woman got indignant and asked “what are you doing?!”. The answer to that was something like this: ‘If you don’t shut your gop, we’ll sort you out too’.”

The young man says that people in the prisoner transport vehicle were not explained why they were taken. “They were naming some sort of articles but denied to decode them. Nobody introduced themselves.”

“They said that we could not do anything, our constitutional rights were limited because we had a detainee status. There were people who had panic and asthma attacks. There was also a girl who felt sick and asked for some water. Special-purpose police unit official took a bottle of water and poured it all over her head.

I had blood pouring out of my nose. It was forbidden to even quickly get a tissue out of the bag to stop the blood. A person sitting on the opposite side of me, took his mask off and gave it to me, so I could at least somehow cover my nose.”

Dmitry tells that later the vehicle circled around the avenue and then the detainees were moved in groups of two-three people to another car, already equipped with cameras, and were taken to the Lenin’s militia department.

“There, in some sort of hangar, everyone was asked for passport data and then redirected to the main building, to the basement, where there was some sort of assembly hall for a hundred or so people. There were about 15 of us from the prisoner transport vehicle but there were already some people in the hall.

In total, about 30 of us were gathered there, including journalists and other civilians. It was already possible to call the ambulance, which we did. The girl, who felt sick and I were taken for [medical] examination to the emergency hospital. I have a report from the doctor who examined me.”

The young man is stating that from the moment of detention, until he was taken to the emergency hospital, he could not reach anyone because it was forbidden to use phones.

“I am a young woman and could have been pregnant”

“I was not offered to just proceed to the bus, although I am a young woman and could have been pregnant, they hit and grabbed me, they tossed me around and threw me in.”

Last night, minsker Alina, her husband and a friend of theirs went out to the centre to just have a walk. According to the young woman, they did not plan on taking part in any actions or protests, they did not know that it was happening.

“My husband and I were walking out of the gym on Kharkovskaya street, in the direction of Nyamiha, and wanted to just meet up with a friend to have a walk. We didn’t know what was going on in the city because we aren’t following that. Already having met up with the friend, we decided to go to the Victory square on Yakub Kolas street though Zybitskaya [street],” Alina recalls the events of the day.

“As we were approaching the square, from a distance, we saw some prison transport vehicles, a blocked road and the Special Purpose Police Unit shaking some guys – simply taking [people] out of the crowd. Nobody screamed anything, we would have heard that, we haven’t seen any people with banners either, so we couldn’t really understand what happened there. Just in case, we decided to turn away to the coffee house Zerno, which is between the Victory square and Yakub Kolas square. We were sitting there for about half an hour.”

After a while the young people thought that everything was over and left the coffee house, moved to the opposite side of the avenue and went towards Nyamiha.

“On the Victory square, we saw that there were not only the prisoner transport vehicles with Special Purpose Police Unit officials but also some microbuses. One of that kind stopped about ten metres from us, opposite ‘Karavai’ [bakery]. People in plain clothes walked out of it, grabbed and pushed a guy who was passing by with his elderly parents in the bus. We stopped and wanted to wait until the microbus went forward but it was moving very slowly.

The same people in plain clothes were walking next to [it]. Then we decided that it was worth it to overtake them. I was walking in front as my husband and the friend were walking behind. We already passed them [people in plain clothes] as they started to run after us. They passed my husband, probably because he is strongly built but grabbed the friend by the legs and arms and dragged him to the bus.”

Alina says that her husband and she got confused for a moment. Then her husband grabbed the friend and began to pull him out of the hands of those who were holding him back and shouted “Who are you?! What are you doing?”. She tells that it was a completely ordinary looking bus, people without any kind of uniform. It was impossible to understand who were they.

“In a few seconds my husband was also put to the ground, then they took him by his arms and legs and threw to the floor of the microbus, where our friend was already lying. When the husband was taken away, I started to walk away, I didn’t want to be taken away too.

I screamed, of course, “What are you doing?!” but stayed out of them. However, they suddenly hit me on my arm and grabbed it. Another man hit me on my leg, so my knee would bend and I fell down. I was also thrown into the bus, on top of my husband. Our feet were sticking out of the doors yet people still tried to close the doors.”

The young lady remembers that there were two men wearing a uniform in the bus. “They were more peaceful, they pulled our feet out of the street and closed the door,” says Alina.

“They said that they didn’t have to introduce themselves. Also, they didn’t answer who and for what reason was tossing us around. Just drove us to the Central Department of Internal Affairs, We were told that they didn’t have a right to detain us for longer than three hours but they held us longer. At first, we were just standing on the street. I was sitting on top of my sports bag because my leg was hurting terribly and I couldn’t stand up. Others stood up. We were told to switch off our phones. One by one people were taken to the building, then returned.”

“They wrote an administrative article, according to which I was allegedly detained because of active participation in the protest. From my words, they wrote an explanation why I found myself in that neighbourhood, that we were not stopping anywhere, that we did nothing – no clapping, no screaming.

I wrote that I disagreed with the protocol because I did not participate in any protest but nobody is listening that you were just passing by, they fill in the papers and that’s it. Then, I was released quickly, so was our friend.

Then they brought my husband’s sports bag but he himself wasn’t out. Nobody was saying where he was. Then, only after I kept asking police officers, they told me that he was taken to the Central Department of Internal Affairs. Nothing more.”

The young woman returned home at night, and in the morning went to the police to file a police report on the people who took them last night.

“We were taken by some strange people in plain clothes who used force – I still have hematomas on my arms and I am still limping. I was not offered to just proceed to the bus, although I am a young woman, who could have been pregnant. They hit me, grabbed, tossed around and threw me in. From the police department I was sent to the heath centre where a surgeon registered the nature of my injuries and called 102 [police].”

The young woman still has no detailed information about her husband. It is impossible to contact him.

“I called the Central Department of Internal Affairs and was told he would be detained until the court hearing. The court hearing is on Monday. I cannot bring him anything because there is a quarantine in the Central Department of Internal Affairs and they don’t let anyone in.”