Week 42, October 4-10October 10th, 2011 Theme: Belarus
People’s Assembly was a peaceful manifestation arranged on October 8 by different oppositional movements in order to high light the deep economic crisis in Belarus. The purpose of the manifestation was to gather as many Belarusian citizens as possible and to put forward to the regime demands of economic and political reforms in order to improve the situation in the country. Hundreds of people gathered around the country to talk openly about the political, as well as economic situation. In order to limit possibilities for the opposition to organize these events, KGB and the Police repeatedly arrested activists across Belarus or blocked them in their homes. Dozens of people were arrested, some of them detained and sentenced to prison, others had to pay a fine.
Artur Eshbayeu, democratic activist in Smaliavichy, is arrested by the Police in his own flat. The Police carried out a search but did not find any signs of illegal activities. Artur Eshbayeu is nevertheless charged with preparing an unauthorised event and imprisoned until trial.
Artur Eshbayeu was a member of the group which prepared the People’s Assembly that took place on October 8. He collected signatures in support of this event, in conformity with legal requirements.
Siarhei Hirkin, oppositional activist, is arrested at the railway station in Maladzechna and taken to the police station where he is kept for about an hour. He was detained in connection to the Dazhynki harvest festival.
The civil campaign Our Home is about to organise a volunteer clean-up in the local cemetery in Slutsk. However, Police officers, KGB and communal services create obstacles to the event. A tractor arrives at the venue and almost runs over people. One of the journalists covering the action is injured. The reporter is taken to a local hospital. The Policemen also try to arrest two members of Our Home and human rights activists – Krystsina Shatsikava and Valery Shchukin.
Andrei Tsianiuta, oppositional activist from the youth organisation Malady Front (Young Front), is arrested by the Police.
He is warned about his activity as a member of the organising committee of the People’s Assembly.
Andrei Tsianiuta is released from jail after serving ten-day arrest for distributing invitations to the People’s Assembly.
Liavontsi Chypurnykh, Deputy Chairman of the Brest city branch of the Belarusian Leftist Party Fair World, is arrested when collecting signatures to hold the People’s Assembly.
Liavontsi Chyrnykh is accused of handing out leaflets for an unauthorised event. At the time he was gathering signatures and handing out invitations. He spent one night in the Police station and will soon stand before the court. This is the first detention for the People’s Assembly in Brest.
Liavontsi Chypurnykh, the Deputy Chairman of the Brest city branch of the Belarusian Leftist Party Fair World, is sentenced to five days in jail for distributing invitations to the oppositional manifestation People’s Assembly.
State-controlled newspaper Mayak in the town of Biaroza refuses the local branch of the United Civil Party to publish its advertisement about establishing a new UCP Party local branch. Despite the fact, that such a refusal is a violation of the Article 33 of the Belarusian Constitution, the editor explains that as the newspaper is state-owned an oppositional advertisement may not be published.
Ten members of the Belarusian Popular Front Party are called to the Central District Police Department in Minsk for interrogation, in connection with the criminal case opened against three representatives of the BPF party. Ales Kalita, Maksim Hubarevich and Siarzhuk Semianiuk are suspected in “beating a security guard” in the building where the BPF party rents an office. The incident took place on August 13.
Viktar Kalesnik, civil activist in Navapolatsk, is summonsed to the Police to take his finger prints before participating in the People’s Assembly in Navapolatsk. Andrei Dvihun, activist of the civil campaign Tell the Truth in Mahiliou, is interrogated by the Police following the detention of his colleague, his friend Anton was putting leaflets, “Let’s Save Belarus!”, in letterboxes in an apartment building.
Viktar Ivashkevich and Henadz Hadynich, oppositional politicians and organisers of the People’s Assembly in Minsk, are called to the General Prosecutor’s Office for an interrogation about their activities.
Vadzim Rabtsevich, activist of the Belarusian Leftist Party Fair World, is detained for posting leaflets with information about the time and place of the People’s Assembly in Brest. The activist is accused of Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code (violation of the order of organising or holding mass events) and is kept in custody awaiting his trial.
Zmitser Shurkhai, coordinator of the organising committee of the Belarusian Christian Democracy, is pulled off a train in the town of Baranavichy by The Police and KGB. He is travelling from Brest to Minsk and is pulled off the train at about 12 a.m. in Baranavichy. He is guarded and taken to the police station. The police suspect him of possession of leaflets, but don’t find any in his luggage. However, the activist is kept in custody for several hours.
Viktar Tsiapin, oppositional activist in Baranavichy, is fined 875,000 Belarusian roubles (about 113 €) by the Baranavichy City and District Court. The activist is accused in accordance with the Article 23.34 (violation of the order of organising or holding mass events) for organizing the People’s Assembly.
A number of democratic movements and organisations are holding People’s Assemblies around the country. The Police and KGB arrest and intimidate dozens of activists, others are blocked from leaving their homes with no possibility to attend the events organized by the opposition.
Uladzimir Katsora, opposition activist from Homiel and organiser of the People’s Assembly in his home city, is arrested and taken to the Central District Police Department, where the Police initiate an administrative case against him under article 23.34 of the Administrative Code (violation of order of holding mass events).
Uladzimir Katsora is detained on his way to the People’s Assembly in Homiel Vasil Paliakou, local oppositional activist, and Leanid Sudalenka, human rights activist, are also arrested, but released after a short while.
According to the Police, Uladzimir Katsora will remain in custody for several days, the activist declared hunger strike protesting against the detention.
Uladzmiri Niapomniashchykh, oppositional activist from the UCP Party, is also arrested due to the People’s Assembly and is kept in custody.
Kastus Shytal, independent journalist, is arrested on his way driving home to the town of Dzisna. The Police take him to the Police department. The journalist is known for actively informing about People’s Assemblies on local sites.
Vadzim Rabtsevich, activist of the Belarusian Leftist Party Fair World, stands before the Leninski District Court in Brest accused of violating article 23.34, part 1 of the Administrative Code (violation of the order of organising or holding mass events). He is found guilty and fined 70 000 Belarusian roubles (less than 10€).
Uladzimir Katsora, opposition activist from Homiel and organiser of the People’s Assembly in Homiel, is fined 350 000 Belarusian roubles (about 45€) following his detention, on his way to the People’s Assembly.
The Council of the European Union adds 16 more Belarusian officials to the list of those who are responsible for repressions and human rights violations in Belarus. The individuals on this list are banned from travelling to the EU. In addition, the assets in the European Union, of the listed persons, are frozen.