A proposed law recognizing the white-red-white flag as extremist is sent to parliament; Belarusian public servants sign a letter against Lukashenko en masse; cases for universal jurisdiction are being prepared in Poland and Lithuania; the story of a sympathetic and stubborn Belarusian makes it to BBC News
13 February 2021 | BYHelp-Mediagroup
A proposed law on recognition of the white-red-white flag as extremist is sent to parliament
A draft of the law “On Amendments to the Laws on Counteracting Extremism” has been prepared and sent to parliament. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, they took into account the opinions of both people demanding that the white-red-white flag and other symbols be recognized as extremist as well as those who demanded not to admit the recognition of these symbols as extremist when preparing the draft.
In the opinion of lawyers, the way of adopting this law through parliament is more optimal for supporters of the white-red-white flag since it involves analysis and debate. However, the very fact that such a proposition was, in principle, created and will be adopted by a “pocket” parliament does not encourage optimism.
In six days, 1,090 Belarusian public servants signed a letter against Lukashenko
The head of the National Anti-Crisis Management, Pavel Latushka, said in an interview with the Russian TV channel Dozhd that 1,090 Belarusian public servants supported an open letter against Lukashenko. The letter including the signatures is planned to be published in early April once it has collected 5,000 signatures.
“Of course, these officials are taking risks. I don’t know if we will be able to collect these 5,000 signatures or not. Many people declare their willingness to sign the letter, but not openly. But this is also one of the means of dialogue with the government officials. They send us their IDs, and we verify them,” says Latushka.
In the letter, public servants claim that basic principles of their work, vested in the Constitution, have been violated. They demand an end to the violence, the release of political prisoners, the prosecution of law enforcement officers and the invalidation of the presidential election results.
Lithuania has already filed five cases under universal criminal jurisdiction, and Poland is preparing to file another eleven
In an interview with the Country for Life channel, Matsvei Kupreichyk, representative of the BYPOL initiative, spoke in detail about the situation with the security forces in Belarus, work challenges and the new BYPOL projects. According to Kupreichyk: “Lithuania has already filed five cases under universal criminal jurisdiction, and Poland is preparing to file another eleven. In Poland, BYPOL collected evidence for these cases and interviewed the victims. With the support of the Center of Belarusian Solidarity, we will soon forward these cases to the Polish Prosecutor General’s Office.”
Also today, the BYPOL initiative posted a video showing the arrest of DJs Kiryl Halanau and Ulad Sakalouski in the summer of 2020. They were arrested after playing the song Peremen by Viktar Tsoi on the main speakers at one of the pro-government rallies last summer where they were working as sound engineers. This video confirms that the sound engineers were arrested by officers in civilian clothes, while neither Sakalouski nor Halanau obstructed the security officers in any way and did not commit any hooligan actions, for which they were sentenced to 10 days of detention. This video completely refutes all court witness testimonies and proves the falsity of the protocols drawn up by the police.
A Belarusian man single-handedly pushed out a bus stuck on a road in Warsaw – His story was told by the BBC News
A Polish TV journalist witnessed an unusual situation while reporting from a snow-covered street in Warsaw. Due to snowfall, a city bus driver could not cope with the ascent of a small hill. A concerned pedestrian, a young Belarusian man named Dzmitry Salahub, unexpectedly came to the rescue and began to push the bus out single-handedly.
Later, journalists discovered Salahub was from Minsk and had recently moved to Poland and was now making a living by entertaining people in a full-sized bear suit in the center of Warsaw. He also uses the outfit when he travels to the Belarusian refugee camp to entertain children and support fellow countrymen.
As thanks for Salahub’s fine gesture, the mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Tszaskowski, presented Dzmitry with a 90-day pass for public transport.
For more information on the events of 13 February 2021, please visit Infocenter Free Belarus 2020: