Arrests of ecological activists in Minsk

On April 26, 2013, officer of the criminal investigation police burst into the flat with ecological activists opposed to the construction of the nuclear plant in Belarus.

The chairperson of the Council of Ekodom Iryna Sukhiy, activists Vasil Siniukhin, Kanstantsin Kirylenka and Volga Kaskevich have been detained in a flat in Minsk centre close to the route of the Chernobyl Way rally. All of them were ordered to get into a grey minibus without registration plates.

By 9 p.m, when the protest rally was over, all of ecological activists were released from Pershamaiski police department.

Tatsiana Novikava, a coordinator of the Belarusian anti-nuclear campaign, commented to charter97.org on detentions of ecological activists ahead of the Chernobyl Way rally :

“It is not the first time when ecological activists have been detained. We were detained last summer when we wanted to pass a petition to the Russian Embassy. The authorities want the Chernobyl Way rally to preserve its image of a pro-opposition demonstration with a small number of participants, a continuation of the Freedom Day rally with traditional slogans. We have changed the format of the rally to focus on the key problems – consequences of the Chernobyl disaster and construction of an NPP  in Astravets.”

She stressed that anti-nuclear activists prepared most of the propaganda materials:

“We had banners for ecological activists and other demonstrators. As a result, most of the promotional materials were blocked in at home. We had no opportunities to take them out of the flat. We didn’t expect that, because we participated in the event without problems last year.”

She made a guess why the Belarusian authorities we so brutal.

“Why did they go berserk this year? I think the authorities are afraid of the topic of Chernobyl and Astravets. Politicians were allowed to go to the rally, but we were not. I was in the flat, while a police car was standing near my home watching me. Plainclothes policemen were everywhere. The most awful thing is that I am an official organiser of the rally. I had no chances to get to the event I was legally responsible for,” Tatsiana Novikava said.

 

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