Riot police chronicles of how to beat and bludgeon women
14 October 2020 | KYKY
Mother’s Day is celebrated on 14 October in Belarus. And this year it was commemorated with the story shared by Anna Matulyak on her Facebook. That is the story of Anna’s mother and another young woman, the story of what they had to go through in a riot police van on 11 October. Facebook, by the way, commemorated the Belarusian Mother’s Day by banning the post.
“I am going to write about it again and again because it cannot be silenced, cannot be hushed up. Because everyone must know and hear about it. Particularly those who are still living under the rock with their “Why do you go onto the streets? Our life is ok. Nothing’s gonna change anyway.”
The people were beaten black and blue in the police van my mom was in. A young girl, Lena, she was from Mogilev, was battered most severely. They were strangling her, kneeling on her neck, punching and bludgeoning her in the face. My mom was sitting next to the girl and was shouting, screaming, “Don’t touch her! Leave her alone! You are going to strangle her dead now!” In response, she was threatened with baton beating and “Shut the f*** up, bitch! Or you wanna get some too?” But my mom did “get some” anyway – the girl was being beaten so hard, so fiercely that my mother was batoned too, collateral damage so to say…
When the girl started wheezing, gasping for air, the strangler’s accomplices shouted, “Roma, that’s enough! You’re gonna kill her!”
When they were thrown into a prisoner vehicle, in one of those tiny compartments two can just stand tight in, my mom was trying to talk to the girl. Savagely beaten, with her face scarred, Lena could not remember anything. A classic case of psychogenic amnesia, a sign of tremendous shock and severe trauma.
In the PTV, my mom repeatedly asked for water because she kept losing her eyesight as a consequence of tear gas generously sprayed into the faces during the arrest. In vain. You know, that kind of selective generosity – benevolent with tear gas, but not with water…
At the Zavodskoy District police station, my mother was taken into police custody by two female officers. Sorry for being sexist now, but somehow intuitively you expect more support from girls, women; however, that was not the case. When my mom asked to use the toilet those two bitches, responded with an offhand “You can wait!” It was only when my mother said, “I am going to do it right here, right on the floor and I don’t care what you are gonna do about that!” she was taken to the bathroom by some guy. Those two female beings went on with their paperwork.
When the detainees were being taken from the van to the prisoner vehicle, an OMON riot police officer commanded to his subordinates, “Beat the p*** out of that bitch!” He was answered with an eager “Sure thing! We’ll do our best!”
And those “bitches” were just my mom and that young woman, Lena. It was Lena who at the Zavodskoy District police station asked a masked officer to show his face. Enraged, he flung his mask off, “Here! See? I am a precinct officer!” He mentioned his name but my mom cannot remember it now. “What are you gonna do to me, bitch?” And Lena replied, “I will remember you.”
After humiliating procedures of searching, interrogating, photographing and taking fingerprints, they were all taken to an assembly hall. Lena’s backpack was being checked – she was taking out some paints, brushes, canvases, artworks… She is an artist. Mom never saw her again as she was later released from the police custody.
With a terrible cough, nausea, vomiting, my mother was admitted to a hospital toxicology unit. Nothing certain about her eyesight, it’s not really good now. She cannot stop crying and repeating, “How can you forget it all? Right in front of your eyes, they are killing, mutilating, destroying people! And you are helpless in all this, you cannot do anything. You are being shouted at, “Shut the fuck up, bitch!”. You are being threatened with guns, batons, beatings…”
The country is divided into savage predators and harmless prey, into violent criminals and unarmed victims. The criminals are not hard to be spotted and identified – they are wearing shoulder boards, their rank slides.
I cannot work. I cannot live. I cannot breathe.
Let’s now discuss constitutional reform, shall we?”