The police of Belarus conducted a special operation yesterday night to dispel the unauthorized rally on October Square in Minsk. The meeting started on Monday, March 20, as soon as the opposition of Belarus refused to acknowledge the results of the presidential election.
Hundreds of police officers raided the tents which the protesters had put up on the October Square of Minsk. The police encircled the entire square and made all journalists leave the cordoned area. All the protesters – about 200 people - were arrested and taken to the central detention center in Minsk. There were Lithuanian and Ukrainian citizens among the arrested people, the National Television of Belarus said.
Other news sources report that it was the most delicate protest-suppressing operation that has ever been conducted in Belarus. The police were reportedly using no batons.
The former presidential candidate Alexander Milinkevich accompanied by another opposition leader, Alexander Kozulin, arrived to the detention center to which the arrested protesters had been taken, Itar-Tass reports. Milinkevich said that the police did not beat the arrested. “However, I do not know what’s happening to the guys behind the walls of the detention center,” added he.
Toilets have become the major problem for the opposition protesters on the October Square in the center of Minsk. The authorities ordered to close all bars and cafes near the square. Municipal services have blocked all the manholes on the square: the protesters put up a tent on one of them and used it as a toilet.
Official spokesmen for the Internal Affairs Ministry of Belarus said that all the detainees would be identified. Underage individuals will be released, whereas adults will have to go on trial. “They have committed an act of administrative violations when they participated in the unauthorized meeting. The court will define the extent of their responsibility accordingly,” an official said.
Milinkevich stated that the opposition and his followers still refused to acknowledge the results of the presidential election in Belarus and would continue demanding new elections. Milinkevich told reporters that the opposition movement of Belarus still had plans to hold a rally on the October Square of Minsk on March 25. “We had plans to organize this action. It is not a political action: the event is timed to the day when the People’s Republic of Belarus was created,” the politician said.
The Municipal services of Minsk have cleaned the October Square of Minsk. Workers said that they had collected tons of garbage and loaded it on three trucks to take the garbage away.
In the meantime, eight member countries of the European Union initiate sanctions against the government of the Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. The Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Stefan Meller, stated that there was a certain plan of actions to take against Belarus: to estimate the presidential election in Belarus, set forth a suggestion of sanctions against the country and urge the entire international community to support such a position, Interfax reports.
The plan has been initiated from the Czech Republic, Poland, the Baltic States, Slovakia, Denmark and Sweden. Meller hopes that the plan will be approved at the meeting of EU leaders in Brussels on Friday. The head of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Poland did not say what restrictions the sanctions particularly implied.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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