Freedom Day Marked With Detentions Of Politicians And Famous Musicians

Politicians, activists, and musicians were detained by police in Minsk on 25 March during unsanctioned events to mark an independence anniversary.

Most of them were set free several hours later, the media have reported.

According to various sources, from 10 to 15 people were detained last evening in Minsk downtown as they were gathering for an unauthorized rally to celebrate Freedom day or Dzień Voli.

The police in civilian clothes were detaining everyone who looked suspicious and was allegedly coming to the rally, TUT.BY reported from the scene. Two opposition politicians, Mikalai Kazlou and Vital Rymasheuski, were detained after they gave comment to journalists.

The rally at Kastryčnickaja square was to start at 6.30 p.m. but around that time the central square was mostly filled with the media and police.

Another group of people gathered at the pedestrian Komsomolskaya street where four Belarusian musicians planned a short music jam in honor of Freedom Day.

Before they could start playing, Lavon Volski, Zmitser Vaitsiushkevich, Pavel Arakelian, and Ihar Varashkevich were approached by the police who warned the musicians that their concert was unauthorized.

The four were then detained for the “identity check”.

After the police took the musicians away, several dozen spectators remained at Komsomolskaya singing songs by Belarusians bands.

The police were continuously warning people that their actions were unauthorized and force could be applied against those present.

By late evening most of the detainees were released, the media reported.

Recall, two Freedom Day celebrations were organized in Grodno and Minsk past weekend. The concert in Grodno gathered around 10,000 spectators.