On 18 June, hundreds of people came together to form a chain of solidarity in Minsk centre as a symbol of their support to those detained around Belarus recently and a desire for change.
The action has started at 6 pm at the site of the Belarusian State Philharmonic and is still ongoing with the line growing by the hour.
“It’s not enough to be a warrior and commentator on YouTube, it’s time to show that there are really 97% of us, those who want changes in the country, free elections and a better future for our Belarus,” participants say.
Politicians Yury Gubarevich (chairman of the “For Freedom” movement), Nikolai Kozlov (chairman of the United Civil Party (UCP), Olga Kovalkova (a co-chairman of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Party (BCD) – all of them are potential presidential candidates.
“People are being tortured on Okrestina (the detention facility on Okrestina street – BelarusFeed note) right now,” says Andrei from Minsk. “I have no questions to the current government, I have only one request: leave,” he says. “I’m not afraid of retribution, I myself have already been to Okrestina and I know what to expect.”
Usually police officers in uniform and plain clothes closely observe such events. Traffic police inspectors are on duty along the avenue as well. Passing-by drivers are heard beeping (they will be highly likely ticketed for this) as a signal of solidarity with the protesters.
When the journalists left the rally, people remained standing even after heavy rain and hail started. Later both independent observers and the Ministry of Internal Affairs will report the exact number of participants.
Valery Tsepkalo, the ex-head of Belarus Hi-Tech Park (HTP) and the pontential presidential candidate, was also spotted greeting his supporters and shaking hands.
At around 9 pm people kept standing next to the GUM department store, at 9.30 pm the chain stretched even further – to the Central bookstore. At about 10 pm the line reached Independence Square and stretched to the Pedagogical University.
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