The 10th March of Pensioners, aka the March Of Wisdom, took place in Belarus’ capital on Monday, 7 December. For the past two months, protest rallies have been traditionally held on Mondays. This one was not without arrests.
Yakub Kolas Square was chosen as the gathering spot. At about noon, yellow buses and tinted vehicles with security forces inside were already waiting for the rally participants, and tractors were parked on the square.
The traffic police blocked the passage along Yakub Kolas Street at the intersection with Surganov to the Komarovsky market area, and traffic along Independence Avenue towards the center was also restricted.
The protesters gathered in the square and chanted in chorus: *“We are walking”. People were warned via a megaphone that the event was not sanctioned by authorities, and security forces were on duty near the exits from the underground passages.
A little later, arbitrary arrests began, including journalists – Belsat correspondent Lyubov Luneva and cameraman Ivan Kurakevich were detained. Nevertheless, a part of the participants managed to break through the cordons of security forces and left the square.
Then the participants of the rally divided into two groups: one of it reached the Red Church and gathered near the Christmas tree installed there, while others headed to the building of the Belarusian State University near the railway station.
People chanted: “Long live Belarus!”, “Freedom for political prisoners!”. There, the police demanded protesters to leave the area. Later, minibuses with law enforcers arrived at the Pryvokzalnaya Square, people were dispersed, BelaPAN reports.
*“I am just walking” is Nina Baginskaya’s legendary reply to masked riot policemen who attempted to stop her and take away her flag back in August. The 73-year-old is an iconic protest figure, veteran activist and grandmother.