“It was absolute, unbearable hell”

Story of a person detained during Minsk protests

12 August 2020, 01:18 | BELSAT

Belarus’s Interior Ministry reported on 2,000 detained people after the first day of the ongoing protests, and on 3,000 more people after the second day. One of the detained was a young man captured by the riot police in Minsk. He told a Vot-tak.tv reporter about the way he had been grabbed and why the Sovetsky district office of internal affairs got stuck in his memory.

“No details about where and how I was detained… They dragged me along the pavement, and started to hit with nightsticks. There were also some other details, but I prefer to leave them out. 

After arriving at the district police office, everybody was put up against the wall with feet shoulder width apart and hands above their heads. More people arrived, and many of them were standing there that way from 2:00 a.m through 2:00 p.m. the next day. Some people came later, but most of the detained were brought there at night, and they were standing that way for 8, 10, 12 hours. 

The police gave two or three bottles of water to 40-60 people, and the people shared the water with each other. A brilliant fight against the coronavirus disease! It was all happening in a yard near the police office, there was also a portable toilet and one could use it on request. 

We were guarded by various units. First it was the riot police, or OMON, who drove us there, they are pure monsters. There also were police officers and people wearing a military uniform, probably, regular soldiers. They were normal people, they carried out some requests and were more or less human-like. After several hours they brought chairs for around 10 detained women.

At dawn, at around 7 in the morning, one could hardly stand under the burning sun. People fainted, one of the detained was brought away by an ambulance. Then the police began to change people’s places… putting into the shade those who felt unwell. They had a kind of a system. “It felt like a hell on the Earth, a genuine hell. When the day broke, one of the jailers allowed us to sit on the pavement with faces to the wall. It was one of the military, all of them were 18-19 years old. At the end, at around 12 a.m. they allowed us to sit. 

After that the riot police arrived to roughly push the detained into vans to drive them to the town of Zhodzina. The police put the people onto the floor, their faces down, and brought them away in the position.”

Our source stayed in Minsk as the police failed to “pack” all the detained into the police vans despite the cruel methods. He was arrested from the night of August 10 through the same day’s afternoon.