Live Feed | 28 Sept

28 September 2020 | Infocenter Free Belarus 2020
Source: Nasha Niva

Today is the 51st day of the protests. Stay with us.

8:58 am According to the human rights centre “Viasna”, over 340 people were arrested yesterday. Some were injured in the process.

9:08 am The sports solidarity foundation proposes to prohibit the entry into the EU for Belarusian sports officials. The list includes Sports and Tourism Minister Sergey Kovalchuk and Ice Hockey Federation chairman Dmitry Baskov.

9:27 am In Minsk, the trial of Nasha Niva editor-in-chief Yahor Martsinovich is underway. Martsinovich has been forbidden to leave the country.

Editor-in-chief of Nasha Niva Yahor Martsinovich in court.
Source: Nasha Niva

10:40 am Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius expressed his support for Belarusian protesters. “The courage and determination of the people of Belarus to pursue truth, freedom and democracy against a degraded outgoing regime is unprecedented. We firmly stand by Belarusians,” he posted on his Twitter.

11:04 am The Coordination Council members made an announcement asking to end the criminal prosecution of Maksim Znak and to release him. They appealed also to Maksim himself, asking him to stop the hunger strike which he’s been on for 11 days already.

11:12 am EuroRadio: Judging by the application on the state procurement website, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus is going to spend $57,000 on the purchase of cameras and voice recorders.

11:16 am Russian Senator Alexei Pushkov said that Lukashenko, especially after his response to Macron, has no other development options except for the Union State. Today, Lukashenko is meeting with the Russian governor.

11:21 am Radio Svaboda: According to ER doctor Yekaterina Merzhinskas, many victims of the August protests were afraid to go to the state hospitals, fearing criminal prosecutions. “Judging by the nature of the injuries, they did not shoot at people who were attacking, but at people who were running away.”

Source: Uladz Hrydzin, Radio Svaboda

11:39 am During the entire time of Maria Kalesnikava’s imprisonment (she’s been in jail since 9 September), only two letters have been received from her. Today, Kalesnikava’s father got the second one. Maria invites us to keep going, move forward and not give up.

11:50 am All you need to know about how detainee trials go in Belarus. (Photos in the gallery) 10 minutes are allotted for consideration of each case.

As of 20 September, about 12,000 people, including minors, were detained during the protests in Belarus. More than 200 were injured, 76 people are missing and at least 450 were tortured.

Source: Nadezhda Buzhan, Nasha Niva

12:00 pm From 28 September 12:00 am, Ukraine lifted the ban on entry for foreigners, as stated by the official speaker of the Ukrainian State Border Service Andrey Demchenko. The Ukrainian borders were closed for exactly one month – since 28 August 2020.

12:25 pm Today, after 10 days of detention, Father Vladimir Drobishevsky, previously detained for “participating in an unsanctioned mass event”, was to be released from a detention centre in Homel. However, relatives and friends did not get to meet the priest – he was again taken to court for consideration of another administrative case. According to Radio Svaboda, now the priest has been sentenced to another 15 days of detention.

12:29 pm The TUT.BY home web page was unavailable for about 10 minutes. Now, specialists have repaired it and the website is working.

12:30 pm Former journalist of “Pressball” and “Sport Panorama” Vladislav Chashko, detained on 24 September, was sentenced to 15 days of detention. He is currently in Akrestsina detention centre. Chashko previously signed the sports community petition demanding a new election and an end to violence.

12:50 pm Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya invited all Belarusians to write letters to political prisoners – “so that prison personnel have time for nothing else but reading your messages”. 

Sviatlana pointed out that “letters from outside are an important asset. The more messages the person receives, the more important he is considered by the employees of the penitentiary institution”. 

You can also send a letter from abroad using the письмо.бел service. All prisoners’ addresses can be found on the human rights centre “Viasna” website.

12:55 pm The Ministry of Internal Affairs speaks of the decreased number of participants in Sunday protests, but does not specify the number of those who came out in Minsk. Meanwhile, according to independent sources, more than 100,000 people came out to Independence Avenue in Minsk yesterday.

A column of protesters at the intersection of Surganov and Independence Avenue on 27 September 2020.
Source: Dmitry Brushko, TUT.BY

1:00 pm The court found Nasha Niva editor-in-chief Yahor Martsinovich guilty under the article “Violation of the procedure for organizing or holding mass events” and fined him 405 Belarusian rubles (USD 155).

1:02 pm According to Nasha Niva estimates, during the entire period of the presidential campaign and protests against the rigged election, at least 13,210 people were detained in Belarus, which amounts to 0.15% of the country’s overall population.

1:05 pm Belarusian State Economic University students went out on a march.

1:10 pm Yahor Martsinovich intends to appeal the court decision. According to him, the fine assigned to him is an illegal robbery. Martsinovich pointed out that freedom of speech should remain a priority, and every case of persecuting journalists for carrying out their professional duties should be investigated, and perpetrators should be punished.

1:20 pm Minsk State Linguistic University students also hold a protest. They are singing songs in front of the university.

1:30 pm Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda believes that France and other EU countries should act as mediators in resolving the situation in Belarus.

1:33 pm Nexta editor-in-chief Roman Protasevich announced that he’s leaving the project; he spoke about this on his Facebook page. According to him, this decision was made independently and was not spontaneous.

1:45 pm Early on Monday morning, Nobel laureate and Coordination Council Presidium member Svetlana Alexievich flew to Germany. According to her assistant Tatyana, Alexievich’s departure is not related to the criminal persecution of the Coordination Council.

Source: Olga Shukailo, TUT.BY

According to Radio Svaboda, the writer went to Germany for medical treatment. As her friend said, Alexievich will be back in Belarus in a month, and does not renounce her duties as a Coordination Council Presidium member.

2:00 pm Former Janka Kupala Theatre actors, who left the troupe in protest against the dismissal of the theatre director Pavel Latushka and against events in the country, supported their colleagues from the Hrodna Drama Theatre. In a video message, they expressed their admiration for their colleagues’ courage and resilience in the face of pressure and injustice, and voiced their support and solidarity.

2:20 pm Anastasia Olshanskaya, an MBH Media journalist detained during the Women’s March in Minsk on Saturday, was fined 135 Belarusian rubles (USD 51) and released from detention. 34travel magazine editor Yulia Mironova was fined 675 Belarusian rubles (USD 257). She spent almost 2 days in prison, although she has a 7-year-old child, writes @radiosvaboda.

2:45 pm According to the Ministry of Health of Belarus, the Russian medicine “Sputnik V”, which Russian authorities claim to be a COVID-19 vaccine, will be tested on 100 Belarusian volunteers on 1 October. The ministry claims that this medicine is “the only [drug] in the world which has been proved to provide long-term safety and effectiveness”. However, it has not undergone proper scientific tests to show efficacy or safety in humans.

2:55 pm Inna Kovalyonok, employee at Viktar Babaryka’s headquarters, was detained by unknown individuals, her sister informs.

2:58 pm French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his readiness to meet with the legally elected President of Belarus Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. The proposed meeting may take place during Macron’s visit to Lithuania.

The French President has previously expressed his solidarity with the protesting Belarusians, and spoke of the necessity of Lukashenko leaving the position of head of state, which he has usurped.

3:04 pm Musical equipment was confiscated from the Catholic group, Laudans. Officials came to the musicians after they took on the storage of speakers that had been used during a protest in Brest.

3:13 pm The trials of the detainees from last night, 27 September, began in Grodno. Most of the people spent the night within the walls of the prison.

3:25 pm In one of Minsk’s hospitals, the head physician organized a search in the staff room. On video, you can hear Mikhail Nazarchuk threatening his colleagues with a conversation about the KGB.

3:33 pm The United States may announce sanctions for Belarusian officials responsible for vote-rigging and violence against peaceful protesters on Tuesday, according to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent.

“At this point, I anticipate an announcement early next week. We have the first tranche of names prepared. I believe we could expect an announcement next Tuesday,” Kent told BNS on Friday. 

“We want to see Belarus as an independent, sovereign and successful country. There are also questions of how do we support it. In part that is to try to give space for Belarus to decide its own future. The US respects the sovereignty of Belarus. We think everyone should respect Belarus’ sovereignty,” Kent said.

George Kent
George Kent.
Source: LRT

3:42 pm The soloist and two musicians of the Best Sound Band, who played during the women’s march on Saturday, 26 September, were sentenced to 11, 12 and 13 days in jail for “disrupting order and organizing mass events.”

3:49 pm Despite Lukashenko’s promise to hold a referendum on the issue and take into account the opinion of citizens, the construction of the battery plant near Brest will continue. The decision to suspend construction was canceled by the head of the Brest Regional Executive Committee.

Фото: Станислав Коршунов, TUT.BY
Battery plant near Brest. The photo is used as an illustration.
Source: TUT.BY

4:00 pm The Investigation Committee refused to open a criminal case against “citizen Alexander Lukashenko”, due to the absense of grounds. This was announced by the representative of the Coordination Council, the chairman of the movement “For Freedom” Yuri Gubarevich.

On 2 September, during interrogation at the Investigative Committee, Yuri Gubarevich handed over a statement on the initiation of a case against Lukashenko under the article on an attempt to seize state power that resulted in the death of people or that was associated with murder.

4:36 pm conducted a survey among IT professionals to find out how they are now showing their civic position. 3.4 thousand IT professionals took part in the survey.

Most of the respondents reported that they take part in solidarity actions. At the same time, almost a third of IT personnel prefer not to intervene in anything for security reasons. Almost 50% of the respondents said they are financially helping affected people. Two months ago, that statistic was 25%.

2% бастуют. Как айтишники выражают гражданскую позицию — 3 часть опроса
Illustrative photo from one of the solidarity actions of IT districs it Minsk.
Source: DEV.BY

4:40 pm 20-year-old OSVOD sailor-rescuer Leonid Bugor was detained yesterday right at his workplace; his relatives still do not know how and for what. However, it is known that the rescuer is at Akrestsina temporary detention center now, TUT.BY reports.

Фото читателя TUT.BY
Photo of a TUT.BY reader.
Source: TUT.BY

4:51 pm In Hrodna, Igor Bublikov, the editor-in-chief of the NewGrodno portal,  was released from prison, where he had spent the night after his arrest. The trial will take place on October 1; Igor is accused of participating in an unsanctioned rally.

4:46 pm Vitaly Krasnitsky, an activist of the Belshina strike committee, was released after 27 days of detention. He was serving an administrative detention for participating in four illegal mass events; he must also pay a fine of 1215 rubles (460 USD).

5:04 pm Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya stated that she supports targeted and personal sanctions rather than industrial ones.

“I am not suggesting general, industrial economic sanctions. I am concerned that private companies and innocent people may suffer. Therefore, I advocate targeted individual sanctions against specific individuals and enterprises that support or finance the Lukashenko regime.”

5:12 pm The Finance and Logistics Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is purchasing 92 video cameras and 54 voice recorders for 148,900 rubles (57,000 USD). Euroradio drew attention to this government purchase.

Source: Euroradio

Among the models of cameras mentioned in the application, there are those that are similar to the ones Ministry of Internal Affairs’ employees in civilian clothes use to film protesters – namely, “premium class” cameras and action cameras like GoPros.

On 16 September, the Ministry of Internal Affairs placed a separate tender for the purchase of sound recording equipment.

Earlier, the Minsk City Executive Committee purchased 200 pieces of body armor for 240,000 rubles (91,000 USD).

5:27 pm The prosecutor requested to impose on the residents of Molodechno Pavel Peskov and Vladislav Evstegneev imprisonment sentences of 3 years and 3 years and 3 months respectively.

Note that on June 19, the residents of Molodechno lined up in a chain of solidarity; after that, the OMON (riot police) attacked the people. Pavel and Vladislav decided to rescue people from the punishers, which sparked an overreaction from a policeman, who took out his pistol and aimed it at the participants of the civil action.

5:30 pm Today, in Minsk, the trial of ER doctor Bogdan Shilnikovsky was held. At the end of last week, he was summoned to the District Office of Internal Affairs, from which Bogdan did not leave. The doctor had already been detained on 12 August after a medical workers’ solidarity action with the BGMU; then, from the temporary detention center on Akrestsina Street, he was taken to the intensive care unit of the emergency hospital.

The court decided to send the case back to the police for revision. Today, the doctor’s 72 hours of arrest have expired, and his relatives hope that he will be released.

Фото со страницы Богдана Шпильниковского в Facebook
Photo from Bogdan Shilnikovsky’s Facebook page.
Source: TUT.BY

5:38 pm Belsat readers report that the authorities have begun distributing leaflets with the slogan “Defend Belarus” in kindergartens.

5:40 pm Lawyer Maksim Znak, who had previously declared a hunger strike in pre-trial detention facility No. 1, is gradually resuming food intake, defense lawyer Dmitry Laevsky told TUT.BY.

Фото: Дарья Бурякина, TUT.BY
Maksim Znak.
Source: Darya Buryakina, TUT.BY

6:04 pm The Belarusian industrial sector profit for 2020 fell by 64.1%, despite Lukashenko’s сlaims on economic recovery in Belarus.

6:08 pm In Brest, it was decided to resume the construction of the controversial battery plant without a referendum. In the summer Lukashenko promised that a referendum would be held in the regional centre to decide the fate of the battery plant in Brest.

6:15 pm In Molodechno, the prosecutor demands imprisonment for men who are accused of resisting riot police at the rally. The prosecutor requested 3 years’ imprisonment for one, and 3 years and 3 months for the other.

Source: TUT.BY

6:16 pm Dmitry Mazuro, a student at the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics who was detained right outside the university, was sentenced to 23 days of arrest, as reported by the Student Initiative Group.

6:26 pm The case of Belsat journalist Dmitry Kazakevich, in which Dmitry served 5 days ( 9-14 August), has been closed due to the lack of evidence of guilt.

6:45 pm Today, trials were held to sentence people detained over the weekend rallies in Belarus. Some were released with a fine, and some were sentenced to more than 20 days in prison. The court hearings will continue tomorrow.

6:45 pm Today, trials were held to sentence people detained over the weekend rallies in Belarus. Some were released with a fine, and some were sentenced to more than 20 days in prison. The court hearings will continue tomorrow.

6:50 pm 326 Belarusians have been allowed to come to Lithuania on humanitarian grounds.

7:01 pm Minsk. Eyewitnesses report that utility company workers have painted over the image of “DJs of Change” in the “Solidarity Quarter” in the Western district of Minsk, but the local residents washed it clean again.

7:04 pm Anatoly Ostrovsky, who went on a hunger strike in a pre-trial detention center in Postavy, was sentenced by the Postavy District Court to a fine of 40 base rates ($411) for participating in a protest rally on the 16th of August.

7:08 pm A group of hackers supporting Lukashenko has emerged: they hacked, a media outlet, and threatened the Cyber ​​Partisans.

7:10 pm The students who insulted the commander of the Minsk OMON, Dmitry Balaba, have been detained. A video was published on the police website showing one of the guys apologizing to the security officer.

Source: TUT.BY

7:19 pm French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya on Tuesday in Vilnius as part of his visit to Lithuania.

7:21 pm Telegram channel “Belarus of the Brain” reports that there has been an attempt to detain Vitaly Kisterny, who worked in the Ministry of Internal Affairs for 20 years and was a Lukashenko supporter, in front of his son. Vitaly was simply riding his bicycle 3 kilometers from the protest rally when security officers tried to drag him inside a detention van.

7:37 pm 38 year old Andrei Verbitsky was injured during the dispersal of a protest in Mogilev. Andrei was hospitalized straight after the Sunday protest. He was severely beaten in Ordzhonikidze Square, where the police used force and special security equipment against the protestors. 

7:55 pm Elena Dovnar, the only journalist detained on Saturday during the women’s march, is still behind bars. There was no trial today.

8:19 pm Inna Kavalyonak, a member of Viktor Babaryko’s campaign team, was detained by unknown men, as reported by her sister. Source: @the_village_

8:40 pm People gather in solidarity chains in the Minsk-Mir residential complex, Kurasovshchina district and Romanovskaya Sloboda.

8:50 pm Belsat journalist Maria Grits, who should have been released, still remains in custody. Another detention protocol was drawn up against her. A trial is scheduled for tomorrow.

Maria Grits.

9:10 pm A criminal case has been instigated against 20 people for blocking an intersection during a protest rally in Brest on 13 September.

9:24 pm The owner of one of the Minsk coffee shops was fined for blocking the road. Allegedly, too many people had been queuing up for coffee in solidarity with the coffee shop owner. Later some people in a queue were detained by the unidentified men in masks. 

9:35 pm French President Emmanuel Macron met with his Lithuanian counterpart Gitanas Nauseda. The main topic of the discussion was the situation in Belarus. Both leaders reiterated that their countries did not recognize Lukashenko’s legitimacy.

Source: Ints Kalnins, Reuters

9:54 pm People are standing in the solidarity chains in Serebryanka, Kamennaya Gorka, Sukharevo, Malinovka, Angarskaya street, near Vostok metro station and other districts in Minsk. 

10:08 pm People are listening to the performance of the song “Changes” in the centre of Brest, the song that became the symbol of the Belarusian protests.

10:10 pm “Free Choir” sang the spiritual anthem of Belarus “Magutny Bozha” in the hall of the Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus. This event triggered a threat of the dismissal of Ilya Silchukov, one of the leading performers of the theatre, who showed the Victory sign (another symbol of the Belarusian protests) yesterday after his performance. Today the entire audience expressed their solidarity with the performer by showing the Victory sign.

10:33 pm According to the survey, the position of Cyprus on vetoing EU sanctions against Lukashenko and his entourage is underpinned by  domestic political benefits, most Cypriots are in favour of their country’s support for Lukashenko, and not the Belarusian people, as reported by Global Belarus.

10:56 pm Belsat reports that about 70 workers intend to resign from Grodnoazot in a protest against the fraudulent elections. The enterprise, as one of the major employers in the city, may be forced to suspend its operation, which will create a hazard to the environmental situation in the city.