27 August 2020 | Infocenter Free Belarus 2020
8:30 am Interfax.by: Latvia offers Belarusian companies the opportunity to move their businesses, in part or completely, to Latvia, in a statement was made by Kaspars Rožkalns, the Director of Investment and Development Agency of Latvia.
9:00 am Yesterday, on 26 August, riot police dispersed protesters in Independence Square. According to reports by the Human Rights Centre “Vyasna”, around 30 people were detained. People were also detained in other regions throughout the country.
During arrests riot police locked up parishioners and other people seeking refuge from the police in the St. Simon and St. Helena Church (the Red Church) located on the square. People were not able to leave the building for over 40 minutes.
Archbishop Tadeush Kondrusevych, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Minsk and Mogilev, called the actions of the riot police “inadequate and illegal” and demanded a full investigation of the event.
09:30 am NN.BY: Aleksander Mrochek, the leading cardiologist in Belarus, director of the Republican Scientific Research Center “Cardiology”, has been dismissed from his post. The Center’s employees are regularly taking part in pickets expressing their protest against violence used by riot police. Dr. Mrochek was dismissed from his post by the Ministry of Health of Belarus.
10:00 am The lawyer of Olga Kovalkova, a Belarusian activist and a member of the presidium of the Coordination Council, was prevented from visiting her at Akrescina detention center. Kovalkova’s lawyer filed a claim to Minsk City Court and made a complaint to the Prosecution Office against the violation of her right to legal defence.
10:40 am TUT.BY: Legendary footballer of the BATE Club Valery Rodionov sharply condemned the violence of the authorities against the protesters. “The most depressing fact is that not a single top official in the country is able to give any reasonable assessment of the events,” the footballer said.
11:00 am The Investigative Committee claims that no complaints of rape from either men or women have been received by the committee. It is also alleged that investigators have received no information on rectal injuries in men and injuries to female reproductive organs. Earlier, doctors at the hospitals to which those beaten at pre-trial detention centers had been brought reported clear signs of sexual abuse of some victims.
11:10 am Vladimir Karanik (former head of the Ministry of Health) said that 16-year-old Timur was a drug addict and had not been tortured by the riot police. Timur was beaten by riot police and given electric shocks, his eyes were mutilated and a truncheon was used to beat his throat. Timur’s medical tests showed no traces of any drugs in his body.
11:20 am Vladimir Makey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, will meet with EU ambassadors. The topic for discussion is the current situation in Belarus and relations with the EU. The discussion will be held behind closed doors and was initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Makey has urged the EU to refrain from introducing any sanctions.
11:30 am NEXTA Live: A truck loaded with nearly twenty tons of humanitarian food aid for workers on strike in Belarus, arranged by the Polish independent trade union “Solidarity”, was denied entry into Belarus. The Belarusian border service stated that the consignment did not have all the necessary documents.
11:40 am The Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Belarus confirms plans for the continuation of planned combat training of the Belarusian armed forces. Tank subunits and aviation are involved in the “preparation”.
12:00 pm TUT.BY: Unidentified people attempted to storm the building of the Libyan Embassy in Belarus. At around 6 am, around 30 people holding angle grinders jumped over the fence and tried to enter the building. The police arrived at the scene. According to the latest information, those who tried to storm the building are on the Embassy’s territory. They demanded that the Libyan ambassador leave the Embassy building, or they will proceed to the first floor.
12:05 pm Nothing is still known about the location of Sergei Dylevsky, the detained leader of the Minsk Tractor Works strike committee. The lawyer could not get through to visit Sergey Dylevsky and is not even able to locate the jail where his defendant is being held. The lawyer intends to file a complaint with the prosecutor about opposition to the provision of legal aid.
12:14 pm The founding father of cardiology in Belarus Professor Mrochek has been fired today because the employees of the Center chaired by him have been actively supporting the protesters from the very start. The decision was announced today at a special meeting of the acting Minister of Health Dmitry Pinevich with the employees of the center. The staff greeted Professor Mrochek with a battery of applause that wouldn’t get quiet for several minutes.
12:26 pm Former Minister of Culture and member of Coordination Council Pavel Latushko thinks that he might be detained any time soon. He reported that the courtyard entrance of the office is blocked by people in masks and that he was under surveillance by the riot police.
12:34 pm The meeting of the European ambassadors with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Vladimir Makei had lasted for 90 minutes. The Lithuanian ambassador told RIA Novosti that he was satisfied with its results, the others chose not to comment on the outcomes of the meeting.
12:51 pm Mariya Kalesnikava arrived for interrogation in a criminal case at the Investigative Committee. Kolesnikova believes that the criminal case against the Coordination Council is the way to put pressure on civil society. Nevertheless, over the past day, a thousand more people have joined the Council, now there are two thousand members and over 3 000 applications are still pending.
12:59 pm The Polish authorities allowed Belarusian citizens into their territory without visas. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawieck said that “several dozen citizens of Belarus who have suffered from the Lukashenka’s regime have found help in Poland” without visas and other required documents.
“We receive signals from organizations from the territory of Belarus and individuals that there are people who have been seriously beaten, tortured by the police. Polish hospitals are open to all these people. We want to help the victims in this way.”
1:15 pm Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev has arrived in Belarus today.
1:25 pm The students of the largest Belarusian university are actively engaging in the protests. Strike committees have been organized in every department. 1,349 students of the Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics have today published an appeal to the authorities demanding new elections and criminal prosecution of those responsible for torture. In response, Lukashenko threatened to dismiss the unhappy and draw them to the army “to defend their Homeland now when it’s in danger.”
1:30 pm The chairman of the Brest regional organization “Gromada” Igor Maslovsky was detained.
1:33 pm Lukashenka accused the Polish government of allegedly claiming the Grodno region in the event of the collapse of Belarus.
1:45 pm Lukashenko called new imaginary numbers at today’s meeting on the development of the major industrial enterprises. He claimed that 3 million people have supported him at the rallies. “The main thing now is the economy, and we will deal with the street,” Lukashenko said, stressing that he relies on World War II veterans and pensioners. Well, according to the Ministry of Labor of Belarus, as of April 2020, there are 4,806 such veterans in the country.
1:55 pm Russian President Vladimir Putin said that at the request of Alexander Lukashenko, the Russian Federation has created a reserve of law enforcement officers for Belarus. He stated this on Thursday, August 27, in an interview with Sergei Brilev. A fragment of the conversation was shown in the „60 minutes” program on the Russia-1 TV channel. The reserve was created at the request of Lukashenko.
At the same time, Putin claims that Russian forces will not be used until “extremist elements in Belarus cross the borders and start robbing.” Putin supported the actions of the Belarusian security forces, calling them “restrained”.
Let us remind you that not a single criminal case has been opened about beatings and murders of Belarusians, the Investigative Committee continues not to accept statements from victims.
2:07 pm Masaryk University in Brno (the Czech Republic) has opened a training program for Belarusian students persecuted in Belarus.
2:14 pm Putin on Belarus: “We’ve acted far more calmly and neutrally than many countries, like Europe and the US … But this is the country that’s closest to us ethnically, culturally, and spiritually.”
Some analytics see it as an open threat to intervene (as it sounds too much like his statements on Ukraine in 2014).
2:21 pm The interrogation of Maria Kolesnikova, a member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council of Belarus, has just finished. Maria used her right not to testify against herself, just as another member of the council Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Aleksievich had done the day before.
2:35 pm Detentions and arrests reach the point of absurdity. Natalya Klimovich was detained in Brest for a white-red-white dress. Now Klimovich is in jail awaiting trial.
3:00 pm Women with their hands tied have come out for a chain of solidarity protest by the Red Catholic Church in Minsk (Church of Saints Simon and Helena), where last night about 100 protestors were locked by the riot police.
The priest of the church came out to support the women standing in the chain of solidarity. They’ve thanked him for the position on the matter. [Source: Nasha Niva]
3:05 pm In one of the Belarusian child care facilities, a teacher locked up a kid for shouting out loud “Lukashenko to police truck”. The child had been locked for several hours, his mother said. [Source: Nasha Niva]
3:10 pm Anna Kanyus, the leader of a public organization Hramada, was detained in Brest. The woman had been seeking information about Igor Maslovsly, arrested earlier this morning. The police had invited Anna inside “to sit and wait”, and later had informed about her arrest. Souce: Viasna]
3:30 pm Searches in editorial offices of Kyky.org and The Village Belarus have begun in Minsk. Both informational agencies sublease their offices with advertising agency Vondel/Hepta. The searches were conducted by the Financial Investigation Department. Some of the representatives left the office along with the advertising agency’s director Aleksandr Vasilevich, who was allegedly taken in for interrogation.
They have also searched the Red Graphics advertising agency, chaired by Nadezhda Zelenkova – wife of Aleksandr Vasilevich. [Source: Viasna]
3:50 pm The house of a co-owner of the gallery of contemporary art “Gallery of Contemporary Art” (“U“ Gallery) Valentina Kiseleva has been searched today. The second co-owner Aleksandr Vasilevich had been detained earlier.
Earlier the “Gallery U” hosted headquarters of the BYCOVID19 volunteer initiative this spring and summer.
3:55 pm Polish Foreign Ministry has called in the Ambassador of Belarus to Poland with regard to Lukashenko’s statements that Warsaw attempts to take away the Grodno region.
Lukashenko had mentioned it earlier today August 27, at his regular meeting.”You see those statements that Belarus will disintegrate, the Grodno region will have already gone to Poland. They already openly talk about that, they dream about that.” [Source: TUT.BY]
4:05 pm Lukashenko threatened students with a military subpoena if they take part in the protests. He said that if students don’t study they have to “defend their country” instead.
4:10 pm The actors of the Maxim Gorky National Academic Theatre support their colleagues from the Yanka Kupala Theatre. They have signed and issued an open letter demanding to stop the violence and pressure on the people immediately. The actors stressed that disruption of the oldest theatre, the flagship of Belarusian theatre culture, is highly unacceptable. Source: TUT.BY]
4:25 pm Vladimir Putin, at the request of Alexander Lukashenko, formed a reserve of security forces „to help Belarus” and recapped the reasons for their possible interventions.
- Seizure of banks
- Arson of cars or houses
- Seizure of administrative buildings
Currently, however, all the protests in the country are peaceful, people walk with national white-red-white flags, chant slogans, sing folk songs. All attempts at provocation are being suppressed by the demonstrators themselves.
4:30 pm “Molodechno” football team was wearing jerseys with the portrait of Nikita Krivtcov while playing their match. Nikita was arrested during the protests. He was found dead several days back. The cause of death is unknown.
4:35 pm The security will be strengthened by the Libyan embassy in Minsk. The incident at the Libyan embassy in Belarus was caused by internal contradictions between Libyan diplomats, reported the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belarus. [Source: TUT.BY]
4:40 pm The last bank in Belarus (BPS-Sber) has stopped mortgage landing for secondary housing.
4:50 pm The doctors from the Cardiology Republican Scientific and Practical Centre went out for a protest. They were joined in by the doctors from other health facilities.
Earlier today the new Minister of Health had fired the Centre’s long-term director.
5:05 pm In Belarusian regions the authorities have started to file the protocols on the participation in the protests. Many of the protesters: doctors, teachers, companies’ executives, and their family members, are being found on the video reports and filed for further investigation. [Source: TUT.BY]
5:20 pm A rally of healthcare workers is moving to the center of Minsk.
6:00 pm The Coordinating Council issued a response to Putin’s statements. It states that:
- Current events in Belarus are strictly internal and any external interference in any form is unacceptable
- The authorities should listen to the people and engage in dialogue with the representatives of Belarusian society;
- All and any issues in Belarus are supposed to be resolved peacefully, there are no extremist elements in Belarus, and this should remain so in the future
This message also defined the only goal of the Coordination Council as expressing the standpoint of the Belarusian Society.
6:37 pm A group of about 15 journalists were detained today in Freedom Square, as reported by tut.by. Among them are employees of Radio Svoboda, TASS, RIA Novosti, BBC, Associated Press, and a number of Belarusian news outlets. They were taken to the Oktyabrski police department in Minsk for an identity check.
7:29 pm Radio Svoboda reports that riot police have started arresting protesters at Independence Square. According to their estimations, there are currently about a thousand people at the Square, and roughly one hundred have been arrested.
7:39 pm A group of people organized a flash mob at the Kupalovskaya subway station, singing well-known Belarusian songs “Pahonya” (“Chase”) and “Mahutny Bozha” (“O Mighty God”). Similar events were held recently at the “Stolica” and “Galleria Minsk” shopping malls. The singers unfurled a white-red-white flag, encouraged by the passengers’ applause. The 5-minute performance ended uninterrupted. A subway security guard arrived toward the end of the performance, but did not impede the performance.
7:34 pm Riot police broke up a rally held by a group of medical workers on Dzerzhinsky avenue in Minsk, TFCC reports. An hour into the protest, a group of about 10 policemen arrived, causing the demonstrators to quickly disperse. One of them stayed, waving a white-red-white opposition flag, and was taken away by the officers. Several of the protesters crossed the road, forming a chain on the other side. The demonstrators left shortly after being followed by the police.
7:53 pm TASS reports that their press photographer, Natalia Fedoseenko, was arrested in Minsk while reporting on the protests.
8:05 pm Nina Baginskaya was seen at Independence Square again today. Yesterday, police took a white-red-white opposition flag away from the 73-year old and broke it. Today she was waving its historical predecessor, the battle flag of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, in defiance.
8:10 pm According to tut.by, the journalists detained at Independence Square were asked to present their paperwork for inspection upon arrival to the police department. They were also required to switch off their phones.
8:30 pm TASS reports: the journalists detained earlier were not under arrest, and were taken to the police department for a routine press credential check, according to the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Tut.by reports that people have formed a solidarity chain on Masherova avenue in Brest.
8:31 pm Riot police have mostly left Independence Square and the area around the Red Church. Protesters are also walking away, chanting “Shame on you!” and “Every single day!” (a reference to rallies taking place daily). Right now there are only a few dozen people remaining at the Square.
8:40 pm According to NAVINY.BY, the governments of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia intended to organize an official visit to Belarus in order to meet with representatives of both the opposition and current authorities. Prime ministers and Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the aforementioned countries were expected to participate. However, the Belarusian government had deemed such an event impossible.
9:09 pm TUT.BY reports: Police are releasing journalists who were detained earlier. As of now, all Russian reporters have been released and met by representatives of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Anastasia Reznikova from Belsat, Andrey Rabchik of Radio Svoboda and a Belsat cameraman are among those who were freed. According to the released journalists, the police threatened Uladz Grydin of Radio Svoboda with a 48hr arrest for refusing to turn on his phone and show his recent photographs.
Meanwhile, more detained journalists have been brought to the police department. Among them are two reporters working for onliner.by. Those who were released say that 20 of their colleagues are still inside.
Oleg Gruzdilovich described the experience: “Everyone sits in the assembly hall. One by one, people are called into an office and asked to show the most recent photographs on their phones. The police take down names and personal information, after which the reporters are free to go.”
9:50 pm According to TASS, Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček suggested that Alexander Lukashenko should be included in the sanctions lists currently being drafted by the EU.
10:39 pm A police detention van has arrived at Oktyabrsky police department, tut.by reports. A group of people was escorted out, some of them with zip ties around their hands.
10:50 pm According to tut.by, musician Yuri Hilavets, formerly of Yanka Kupala National Theater, was arrested today and is currently at the Partizansky district police department. He was among those who left the theater in solidarity with the director, who had been fired earlier. Boguslav Tsygankov, son of a Radio Svoboda journalist, was also detained and brought to Sovetsky police station.
10:50 pm Police have released AFP photographer Sergey Gapon, as reported by tut.by.
He claims to have heard police department staff saying “If we haven’t begun an investigation of your case, leave the police department and wait for a lawyer”. A list of 47 names was printed out, and three more were added by hand, which means 50 journalists in total were detained today.