16 October 2020 | Infocenter Free Belarus 2020
Good morning, the 69th day of the protests begins.
8:00 am More than 400 criminal cases, concerning violation of the public order, have been opened in Belarus since 9 August. This was stated by the Prosecutor General Andrey Shved.
Not a single case concerning the use of violence by law enforcement officers has been opened so far.
8:26 am Anatoly Lebedko has ended his hunger strike. His wife told this to “Narodnaya Volya”.
8:32 am In total, journalists of Belarus have served a total of 500 days of detention. This data was published by the Belarusian Association of Journalists.
8:33 am People are standing in a solidarity chain along Mayakovskaya Street in Minsk.
8:35 am Employees of the Academy of Sciences took to the streets with placards in support of their illegally detained colleague, Vladimir Shipilo.
Vladimir Shipilo, an employee of the Institute of History, was sentenced to 7 days of detention. Vladimir was detained during the protest against violence near the Academy of Sciences.
9:16 am Daily protests against the illegal rule of Lukashenko continue in Belarus.
Minsk residents organised a protest on Angarskaya Street, blocking Minsk Ring Road, as reported by Charter 97.
9:41 am Minsk. People with flags blocked traffic on Moscow Ring Road.
10:22 am BelaPAN reports that lawyer Mikhail Kirilyuk, who is defending Yelena Leuchanka, is facing the loss of his lawyer’s license. His case will be considered today. The process was initiated on the grounds of his social media posts.
10:29 am The Belsat TV channel published an investigation into Lukashenko’s entourage. Journalists believe that oligarchs close to the dictator launder money through a company in Lithuania.
10:35 am It became known that Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was put on the interstate wanted list under the article on calls to overthrow the constitutional order (Part 3 of Article 361 “Calls to overthrow or change the constitutional order of the Republic of Belarus or to committing crimes against the state”), as stated by the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. We remind that on 7 October, the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs put Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on the wanted list following her prosecution by the Belarusian authorities.
11:29 am Lufthansa Technik Union representatives told FINANCE.TUT.BY that some workers really refuse to work on Lukashenko’s plane maintenance, while others continue to work on it. Due to the crisis caused by the pandemic, people have different views on the call to stop working on the plane.
11:31 am The director of the song and dance ensemble “Khoroshek”, Colonel Valery Kurda, said that the ensemble will perform today in the Kupala Theatre, in spite of the orchestra, sound engineers and part of the ballet troupe protesting.
11:44 am Students who were detained for 24 hours (that is, who missed more than 10 hours of classes without a valid reason) might lose their scholarships.
The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance adopted a joint resolution on this on 21 September. It was published only now.
11:56 am Cell phone users started getting text messages from the Ministry of Internal Affairs again.
12:18 pm Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will speak at the global TEDWomen event “Fearless”, which will take place online on 11 November 2020.
12:42 pm The Investigative Committee confirmed the search for Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
1:13 pm The daily protest is taking place at Minsk State Linguistic University: students are singing “Kupalinka” and holding placards with the word “Dialogue” in various languages.
1:19 pm Dmitry Peskov said that the Russian Federation has no claims to Tsikhanouskaya. “She was put on the wanted list by Belarusian law enforcement, and we, in turn, share the system and obligations with them,” Peskov explained. The warrant on Tsikhanouskaya is not considered political persecution by the Russian Federation.
1:22 pm Minsk State Linguistic University students appeared at the University rectorate and demand an open dialogue.
A chain of students stretches over three floors of the building. The students are carrying placards with the word “Dialogue” in various languages, reports Telegram channel studenty2020.
Teachers are not allowed to join students, being kept behind a closed door. Meanwhile, police were allowed in by the security guards.
1:29 pm Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya meets the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, François-Philippe Champagne, in Vilnius.
1:42 pm The Coordination Council pronounced the situation in the country a legal default.
“The events of recent months have led the country to a state of legal default: the authorities still assert that Belarus is a rule-of-law state, but citizens have long stopped believing them. Moreover, two months after the elections, violence against peaceful protesters continues in the country.”
1:54 pm ❗️ Maria Kalesnikava’s lawyer managed to get a new commentary on Saturday’s prison meeting and hurried re-writing of the Constitution.
Maria believes that no dialogue is possible under current conditions. The negotiators should stand on equal grounds. There is no sense in speaking about a productive conversation until all political prisoners are released.
This step only demonstrated the weakness of the current government.
2:02 pm Anatoly Bokun, co-chairman of the Belaruskali strike committee, was due for release today. However, according to his mother, he was secretly transported from the detention centre in Uzda to the police department in Salihorsk.
2:03 pm The Interdepartmental Commission reduced presidential scholarships for all athletes by around 20%.
2:33 pm The Eurasian Development Bank transferred $500 million to Belarus. This is the first tranche of the $1.5 billion Russian loan, which Lukashenko and Putin agreed on in September. Almost all the money will be spent on paying off the debt to Gazprom.
2:33 pm Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya called on all Belarusians to vote against the constitutional amendments initiated by the regime.
“The illegitimate government has no legal grounds to carry out constitutional reforms. The people alone have this right. Show that you will not agree to any version of the Constitution imposed on you.”
2:41 pm 33 volleyball players signed the athletes’ open letter. Among them is Artur Udris, player of the reigning French champion volleyball club Tours VB.
Udris: “The government thinks that we are like them, that we have a main leader, that they can detain him, and then all will fall apart. But our advantage is that we have no leaders.”
After Yelena Leuchanka’s arrest, people in masks were spotted near Udris’ house. They were also noticed in the stairwell of his house.
2:47 pm The Lithuanian National Olympic Committee President met with Aliaksandra Herasimenia. “We are ready to support the athletes and create conditions for them to train in Lithuania,” said Daina Gudzinevičiūtė.
3:00 pm Dzmitry Suganyaev, a reporter for state-run media outlet Zvyazda, was fined 810 rubles ($315) for participating in an “unauthorised rally”. Photos published on his Instagram were used as key evidence.
3:20 pm At Minsk State Linguistic University, the Belarusian State Academy of Arts, and the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics, students are participating in traditional solidarity rallies.
3:40 pm Ivan Tertel, head of the KGB, has announced that “a provocation is about to happen in Belarus”. And as usual, the responsibility is with “foreign spymasters”.
3:57 pm The head of the Main Directorate for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption, Mikalai Karpiankou, who personally smashed windows in one of the coffee shops on Niamiha, said that his unit was ready to “humanely” (!!) deploy firearms against demonstrators. Earlier, Deputy Interior Minister Gennady Kazakevich had issued similar threats.
4:12 pm A cyclist who tried to escape police officers during a bike ride on 7 August was sentenced to two years in prison for resisting arrest. It should be noted that the policemen did not sustain any injuries from the “resistance”.
4:19 pm Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya spoke to the media about the conversation she had with her husband last Saturday: “You can always sense it if the person you are talking to is not alone. Siarhei immediately warned me that we could only talk about our family and children. He then praised me and my actions.”
4:39 pm In a Facebook post, theologist Natalya Vasilevich shared that Aliaksandr Bogdan, a priest from Vaukavysk, has received a second warning for participating in a protest rally.
5:25 pm The head of the Hrodna Children’s Hospice, Volha Vialichka, has been fined 405 rubles ($157) for participating in an “unauthorised mass event”. She has been in pre-trial detention since her arrest. Ms. Vialichka is the mother of two young children.
5:41 pm Elena Gnauk, a lawyer from Brest, went on a hunger strike due to poor conditions in the temporary detention centre where she is currently serving an administrative sentence for “participating in an unauthorised rally”.
5:48 pm Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda urged the EU countries to ignore the international warrant for the arrest of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, as it was initiated by an illegitimate dictator. “[The] EU must keep all doors open for her [Tsikhanouskaya]”, Nausėda tweeted.
5:53 pm Since the beginning of the protests, about 1,200 Belarusian IT professionals have relocated to Ukraine, and about 800 to Poland.
5:54 pm Belarusian National Technical University students held a rally to express their solidarity with workers.
6:00 pm A traditional women’s march is underway in Minsk, with the slogan “I’m taking a walk!” Today, a group holding red and white umbrellas left from Kamenaya Gorka heading toward the Pushkin metro station, where participants laid down flowers at the memorial for Aliaksandr Taraikouski.
7:00 pm Aliaksei Batsiokov, a museologist and the most famous historian of Mahiliou, was convicted twice in one day of participating in peaceful protests in August and September. This morning, the court fined him 270 Belarusian rubles, and this evening he was fined once again, 351 Belarusian rubles.
7:15 pm History teacher Tatsiana Montsik published an emotional video recording to her former student, the current Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Gennady Kazakevich, asking him to take a stand and refuse to carry out criminal orders.
7:29 pm Sviatlana Tikhanouskaya met with the Foreign Ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia according to her press service. They discussed moving or boycotting the Hockey Championship in Minsk as a show of protest against the repression of athletes in Belarus.
The ministers stated that they are awating an OSCE report on torture in Belarus, in order to begin working on prosecuting those involved.
7:31 pm Ministry of Energy press secretary Volha Kozlovich stated that Belarus has settled all of its accounts with Gazprom for gas supplies. Nonetheless, Gazprom Trangaz Belarus will not consider the debts for natural gas delivery to be fully paid until all necessary documents have been signed and penalties have been paid.
7:46 pm Zhodzina residents took part in a flash mob to draw attention to Belarusians’ lack of freedoms. They walked with their hands behind their heads.
7:47 pm TUT.BY readers have reported that a lecture on the Belarusian flag and coat of arms is underway at Grushevsky Square in Minsk.
8:00 pm A protest took place at the Belarusian State Circus in Minsk today: a choir sang in balaclavas.
8:20 pm Famous musician Pete Pavlov is performing at Mayak Minsk residential complex. Concerts are also underway in various neighbourhoods around Minsk, including in Uruchcha, the village of Ozertso, and Lebyazhem. In Minsk and other cities around the country, people are forming solidarity chains and organising celebrations in their courtyards.
9:19 pm Medical professionals have recorded a response to the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ statement on using weapons. They called on the Ministry to refrain from using weapons and end violence against peaceful citizens.
9:25 pm Leaflets with words of support have appeared at the apartment building where Aliaksandra Sitnikova lives. Sitnikova has been a Thai boxing Belarusian champion multiple times, and was sentenced to 10 days of detention.
9:42 pm A TUT.BY reader has reported that at about 8:00 pm, the riot police broke up a courtyard celebration in Senitsa. Three participants were arrested.
9:50 pm Today, the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee and Human Rights Subcommittee held a joint hearing on how to combat the impunity of special forces using violence against peaceful protesters. Speakers included Ales Belyatsky, a representative of Viasna Human Rights Centre, and Harry Pogonyailo, leader of the Belarus-Helsinki Committee legal commission.
10:08 pm Aleh Grablevskiy, an associate of the Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, was arrested in Minsk during the protest of persons with disabilities. According to the Facebook page of the Office’s director Siarhei Drozdovskiy, Grablevskiy was sentenced to 15 days of detention.
10:10 pm Co-chair of the Belaruskali Strike Committee Anatoly Bokun, who should have been released today after 25 days of detention, was sentenced to 15 more days. This information comes from the Strike Committee Telegram channel.