Tuesday, March 28, 2006

MINSK: LUKASHENKO'S SHOW OF FORCE

Whilst we were enjoying a peaceful rally in London, things weren't going to plan in Minsk.

The incredibly useful br23 blog sums up the sorry state of Belarussian democracy very well: Game Over.


Even though the camp was broken up, somewhere between 20000 and 30000 demonstrators tried to protest the recent election fiasco in October Square on Saturday but were blocked by the police and thus decided to use Janka Kupala park instead. (Photos from the peaceful part of the rally here.)


At some point, a group from this demonstration opted to march on Akrescina prison, where hundreds of political prisoners are currently held.

Then things turned nasty.




More photos here and here.

An estimate from br23 blog puts the number of those still being held from Saturday at around 1000, including a Canadian journalist, a former Polish ambassador to Belarus, two Georgian TV reporters, two Ukrainian activists and three Russian human rights activists. Here's a diary of someone who braved the cold last week to camp out in October Square, but (worryingly) is now missing.

Remember this the next time someone screeches about the heavy-handed tactics of our police on May Day.

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