For the third Sunday in a row [since Ivan Kubrakov became the Minister of Internal Affairs], security forces are especially brutal on peaceful protesters. As of the evening of 15 November, human rights activists reported more than 900 protesters have been detained nationwide. Recall that last Sunday the number of the detainees exceeded one thousand.
The events of the 14th consecutive protest Sunday of peaceful protests were captured on photos and videos. Hundreds of people took to the streets of their cities in mass rallies on Sunday chanting “I’m going out”, the last known written words of Roman Bondarenko, who died last week.
The demonstrattors planned to march from the Pushkinskaya metro station, where Alexander Taraikovsky, the first victim of the post-election protests, was shot dead, to the Square of Changes, where Roman Bondarenko was beaten by the unknown men in masks on November 11, after which he died.
This Sunday, the mobile internet was down since 9.15 am. More metro stations than usual were closed: all stations from Lenin Square to Yakub Kolas Square, from Kupalovskaya to Kuntsevshchina, as well as the stations of the third line. From the very morning, special vehicles with law enforcers filled the streets of Minsk.
They prevented protesters from gathering in a procession. As soon as people tried to gather in groups, they were immediately dispersed, beaten and detained. Nevertheless, protesters occupied Pushkin Avenue and headed towards Orlovskaya Street. At least several thousand people gathered there chanting “I’m going out”.
Law enforcerers again used rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowds.
On Pushkin Avenue, a blue minibus of security forces hit a man, after which he was shoved into a vehicle and driven away. It was later reported that an ambulance took him.
One of protesters managed to get away from his pursuers – law enforcers and a traffic police car – he jumped over the fence of the traffic strip of Pushkin Avenue.
At the intersection of Pushkin-Timiryazeva-Orlovskaya Street, a final sweep of protesters took place. There were no people left on the roadway, they fled to the neighbouring yards, where the arbitrary arrests continued.
Meanwhile, chains of solidarity were lining up on Chervyakov Street, where Changes Square is located.
At about two o’clock in the afternoon, security forces arrived at Changes Square. They threw stun grenades straight into a group of peaceful citizens who gathered to mourn Roman Bondarenko, eyewitnesses reported at least four explosions.
At some point, those gathered at Changes Square did not allow security forces to approach the improvised memorial in honour of Roman Bondarenko, they raised their hands and moved towards them – the latter retreated a little, but not for long.
A bizzare incident happened there: a weird man broke a tile to throw it into law enforcers. He also attacked a reporter trying to strangle him with a lace of his editorial badge. People began chanting that he was a provocateur and made him leave the courtyard.
Then security forces in riot gear and shields surrounded protesters. People were chanting “One for all and all for one”, “Who killed Roma?”, “Stop killing”, “You must protect us”, “He served with you!” [Roman Bondarenko served in special forces in 3214 unit].
In just a couple of minutes, security forces took the area into a ring. There were about 500 protesters in the courtyard, and an enormous number of law enforcers.
Head of the Minsk OMON [riot police] Dmitry Balaba approached protesters and suggested them to proceed to paddy wagons for their transportation to police departments and identification. People refused to go – brutal dispersal and arrests started.
As a result, security forces flooded the square where Bondarenko was detained, pulling down banners and white-red-flags, breaking memorial lamps and dragging people from the crowds, shoving them into paddy wagons with batons.
A few minutes before the sweep, the wired internet was shut down in the area. People in balaclavas with truncheons even broke into in a grocery store not far from Changes Square on Chervyakova Street and began to beat and arrest people there, while others tried to protect them.
In the evening, the GUBOPiK [the Interior Ministry’s Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption] employees came to the “courtyard of changes”. They searched the houses located nearby, raided private apartments in search of hiding protesters and journalists covering the events.
A de-facto curfew with OMON [riot police – Ed.] checkpoints and passport control has been established across several residential areas.
In addition to the GUBOPiK, employees of municipal services in orange uniforms came to the Changes Square to dismantle the memorial. Later, a minibus full of flowers left the scene. Nothing remained of the memorial by nightfall.
Human rights activists reported more than 900 detainees and counting. Among them are journalists, doctors, famous Russian publisher Boris Pasternak (he is 74 years old). Criminal cases under Part 1 of Art. 342 have been initiated against the detainees.
“It looks like everyone will again be recognized as suspects in criminal cases, like two weeks ago,” reported the lawyer.
Rallies, memory and solidarity actions took place in many other cities of Belarus: Mogilev, Gomel, Grodno, Brest, Vitebsk, Zhodino, Baranovichi, Novopolotsk, Rechitsa, Vileika, Dzerzhinsk, Lyakhovichi, Nesvizh, Zhabinka, Mikashevichi and Chist village. There were detentions too.
99 days have passed since presidential election in Belarus.