Last week police in Minsk made a teenager apologize for slapping a statue of a policeman. The controversial situation sparked discussions on social media and provoked flashmobs.
Don’t touch or kiss it.
People responded with the most innocent acts of disobedience, they attacked the statue with hugs and kisses, put a warm scarf on it and even took group selfies.
Every time the worst offenders were approached by real-live police officers who explained that the statue is a symbol of police in Belarus and is under protection.
“You can take photos of the sculpture, but you can’t touch it. You can’t sit or climb on it, kissing is not allowed too.
It’s kind of forbidden, first, the Ministry of the Interior is located here. Any kind of actions with the sculpture are not welcome,” the officer is heard saying in one of the videos.
The absurdity of the incidents was ridiculed by social media users who started to apologize to monuments, sculptures, and even tanks.
“12 years ago I climbed the tank in Borisov. Sorry, tank.”
Others were concerned about the doves and dogs and wondered what kind of punishment awaits them.
One of the users apologized to a monument to common sense. For the fact that it has not yet been installed.
Someone even found the strength to confess to sexual harassment of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s monument.
Besides, someone set up a Twitter handle for the statue, where it was compared to the most protected works of art in the world.
— Царский Городовой (@CarskiGorodovoy) November 20, 2018
But is it a crime?
Valentin Stefanovich, the human rights activist of the Vesna human rights center, believes that the teenager didn’t do anything illegal.
According to the activist, the teen’s behavior could have been treated as an offense only if it was the monument to the deceased policeman, for instance.
“You need to understand that Minsk Gorodovoi (the title of police officers in the Russian Empire between 1862 and 1917 – note BelarusFeed) is not a monument, but a city sculpture.
The act of a teenager didn’t undermine the moral fabric of society, as well as it caused no harm to the sculpture, i.e. property damage,” he explained.
The offended sculpture is situated near the building of the Ministry of the Interior. It was installed to mark the 100th anniversary of the Belarusian police.
Despite the statue is not considered to have major architectural or historical value, officers consider it a ‘sacred place’, the media write.