The 35th anniversary of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was marked by a new wave of arrests; the European Broadcasting Union demands an explanation from the Belarusian state TV and radio company for broadcasting footage of the torture of political prisoners; independent press is being destroyed morally and financially
26 April 2021 | Voice of Belarus
The 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster provoked a new wave of arrests
The accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant occurred on 26 April 35 years ago. Therefore, on Monday starting from early morning, Belarusians took to the streets to show solidarity with the victims of the disaster. In addition, posters saying “Lies are worse than radiation” were spotted at the underground stations.
On this day, a mass rally called “Chernobyl Way” was held annually since 1996. The participants honoured the memory of the victims of the Chernobyl disaster and condemned the Soviet and Lukashenko regimes. This year, all public events were banned.
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya called to honour the memory of the victims of the Chernobyl disaster: “I know it well: when you share the pain with others, it becomes easier. Therefore, today at 20:30 I invite everyone to light candles in memory of the victims by the largest church in your city. I will also light a candle so that such lies, lawlessness, and loss of life will never happen again in Belarus.”
Immediately after this statement, the security forces began to gather in the centre of Minsk and other cities. Uniformed people stopped bystanders, searched their bags and phones, and arrested them. According to those who went out into the street, carrying a candle was a guarantee for being arrested.
Many Catholic and Orthodox churches in the centre of Minsk were closed in the evening.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) demanded an explanation from the Belarusian state TV and radio company for broadcasting footage of the torture of political prisoners
Recently, the head of the National Anti-Crisis Management (NAM), Pavel Latushka, asked the European Broadcasting Union to investigate the evidence confirming the involvement of the Belarusian state television and radio broadcasting service, Belteleradiocompany, in acts of torture. State TV channels often broadcast interrogations of severely beaten political prisoners. The NAM believes that Belteleradiocompany is the organisation behind ordering this type of content.
The EBU studied the footage of the interrogation of Mikalai Dziadok and demanded an explanation from Belteleradiocompany.
Independent press is being destroyed morally and financially
The editor-in-chief of Baranavichy newspaper Intex-press, Uladzimir Yanukevich, received a fine equivalent to 180 euros for interviewing Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.This amount is the maximum possible punishment for an individual.
Meanwhile, the 3,900-euro fine for regional media Hrodna.life remains in effect. The court did not uphold the journalists’ appeal against the earlier verdict. The Hrodna media channel received such a fine for allegedly disseminating information from Stsiapan Putsila’s Telegram channel, which was recognized in Belarus as extremist.
Arrests for birthday greetings and for standing watch at the mass execution memorial
Ten young people were arrested in Minsk while congratulating their friend on her birthday. Since the birthday girl was in quarantine due to the coronavirus, her friends came in protective suits holding posters in their hands. Soon, security officers appeared from behind a neighbouring house and arrested everyone along with the presents, the cake and the flowers.
The trials of Hanna Shaputska and Zmitser Dashkevich, arrested near Kurapaty, took place. Shaputska and Dashkevich were standing watch at the Kurapaty memorial, the place of execution of tens of thousands of Belarusians in the 1930s. Sadly enough, the authorities built a restaurant at the site of this mass murder. Shaputska was sentenced to 15 days’ detention, and Dashkevich to 20.