Yulia from Minsk lives in a high-rise building on Vera Khoruzhei Street. For a long time, she had white curtains with red ornaments hanging on her window. The police officers detained the woman and took her to the police station to give an explanation about the decor. As a result, she spent the night in a detention centre and was fined BYN 2,160 [~$841 / €700] for picketing.
For a pretty long time, Yulia had white curtains with Belarusian ornaments hanging on the balcony of the 14th floor until one Sunday morning police officers came to her apartment and removed them. “The policemen went into the flat, looked around, said that the curtains look from below like flags, so I have to go to the Sovetsky District Department of Internal Affairs to give an explanation,” says Yulia.
During the questioning at the police department, Yulia realized that she had been detained and would then be taken to the detention facility before the trial. Well, this is exactly what happened to her. The report of detention reads that the woman allegedly picketed without the permission of the Minsk City Executive Committee by placing a white-red-white flag on her balcony.
The woman did not agree with the report, she said: “I wrote that the Belarusian national symbols do not belong to any socio-political movement or organization, therefore it cannot express socio-political views.” Nevertheless, Yulia was taken to the detention centre on Okrestin Street, where she spent the night from 2 to 3 May. The next day the judge of the Soviet district Marina Fedorova considered the case via Skype and sentenced her to BYN 2,160 [~$841 / €700].
“To prosecute a person in the Year of National Unity for having an ornament on the window, which can be seen on billboards around the city – this is something. Probably, they didn’t like white and red colours. The police told me that some citizens had complained about the curtains, they did not say who exactly. I think that it was actually some kind of raid, because guys without uniforms took me away, on a silver Geely, and I know their faces, they are constantly walking here.”