With a new form of protest, thousands again demonstrated against ruler Lukashenko in Belarus. Backyards helped.
KIEV taz | Once again on Sunday tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Minsk and other Belarusian cities for the release of political prisoners, for the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko and for a new election.
“This time it was not as announced and also not like last Sunday,” the Minsk activist Alla Kondratiewa told the taz on the phone. “We had announced a rally in the center, where they had already been waiting for us, with water cannons and the usual.”
But what happened next, the security forces did not expect, they would have responded helplessly: This time the demonstrators gathered in small groups in the backyards of their high-rise buildings, reports Kondratieva. They waited there until the police could no longer be seen. Only then did the groups take to the streets.
“We formed columns, but then did not go towards the center, but instead walked through the streets,” reports the activist. No sooner had a police unit appeared than the demonstrators had disappeared into backyards and reappeared elsewhere. “The water cannons didn’t even know where to position themselves.”
Videos show violence against demonstrators
Because of the decentralized form of action, it was not possible to show pictures with a large crowd, says Kondratieva. But you could keep the number of arrests low. The activist estimates that there were between 30,000 and 40,000 people on the streets in Minsk.
In other cities too, thousands took to the streets against Lukashenko on Sunday. In the afternoon, the Vyazna Human Rights Center reported 118 arrests in Minsk, Borovljanij, Pinsk and Slavl. Numerous videos published on the Telegram channel Nexta showed that the police again used violence against demonstrators this Sunday.
On Friday, 5,000 people in Minsk attended Roman Bondarenko’s funeral and escorted his coffin from the Orthodox Church to the cemetery. Bondarenko was arrested on November 11th. After being severely ill-treated by the police, he died on November 12th from his injuries.
In the meantime, the public prosecutor’s office has initiated criminal proceedings against a doctor who passed the results of Bondarenko’s medical examination to a journalist from the portal tut.by. The doctor violated his medical confidentiality. Katerina Borisevich, the journalist, was arrested on Thursday.
Alexander Lukashenko claimed in an interview that Bondarenko was drunk at the time of his arrest. However, the medical document proves the opposite: at the time of his arrest, Bondarenko had 0.0 per mil in his blood.
Meanwhile in Hrodno the trials of striking trade unionists who were arrested on October 26th by the special police OMON are set to start in the coming days. This was reported by the union activist Lizaveta Merliak from the Belarusian Independent Union to the taz.