2020-10-10
10 October 2020 | Infocenter Free Belarus 2020
Meeting at the KBG detention center
Source: the Pul Pervogo Telegram channel

Good morning. Today, another weekend of protest against Lukashenko’s government begins in Belarus.

The past week will be remembered for Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s numerous working meetings with European leaders, during which she managed to enlist support from European countries such as Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, and Greece. Unfortunately, the past week will also be remembered for the new arrests of peaceful protesters and the members of the Coordination Council. The detentions happened during concerts and walks, and the authorities are unwilling to enter into dialogue.

8:00 am Another “trend” of this week is the recall of European ambassadors from Belarus. According to TUT.BY, as of this morning, only the Ambassadors of Austria and Italy remain in Minsk.

8:30 am Today begins with preparations for the Global Women’s March. Women from many countries will march through the streets of their cities in solidarity with the repressed peaceful Belarusians.

26 countries will join the Belarusian Women’s March today.

9:30 am Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has expressed her support for Belarusian female protesters and international women’s marches in solidarity with Belarus. 

“My dear Belarusian women! Mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, granddaughters – I am infinitely grateful to you for the courage and determination that you show in the struggle for your right to live freely in your country. It was you who showed the whole world the power of peaceful protest. It is your dignity, beauty, and love that have exposed the ugliness of lawlessness, which is committed daily against peaceful citizens of Belarus. You won’t be alone this Saturday. Women from over twenty countries of the world will take to the streets of their cities to support you. I invite women from other countries to join. There are many of us, and together we can change the world.”

9:45 am Unfortunately, not only participants of today’s Women’s March are preparing themselves for a new day of protests. Users of social networks report that Independence Avenue has already been blocked from Independence Square in the direction of the GUM department store.

10:00 am A new mural depicting Anatoly Lebedko has appeared near the house where he lives. Yesterday Lebedko was detained and sentenced to 15 days in jail “for participating in an unauthorized event”.

Anatoly Lebedko Mural
Anatoly Lebedko holding a banner with his quote: “Belarusians are people with dignity and self-respect, people who are ready to protect their choice and themselves”.
Source: Belsat Telegram channel

11:20 am Alexander Pylchenko, the lawyer of Maria Kalesnikava and Viktar Babaryka, finally received information about the possible reason why the Ministry of Justice intends to revoke his license.

Surprisingly, it is his commentary in the article published by TUT.BY on 14 August. Pylchenko explained how the Prosecutor General’s Office can react to the published evidence that on 9–12 August detainees were beaten in the police stations and in the pre-trial detention center. The lawyer said that the Prosecutor General of Belarus should initiate criminal proceedings on the facts of the beatings, abuse, and inhuman treatment of detainees and noted that the Prosecutor General’s Office should suspend the Minister of Internal Affairs, his deputies, and the head of the detention center from their duties until their involvement in the atrocities, or otherwise, has been duly determined.

11:50 am Maria Kalesnikava has reacted to the situation with Alexander Pylchenko’s license. She says that in the end, she may find herself without any lawyers at all since the defenders will be afraid to provide her with legal assistance under the threat of negative consequences. Maria Kalesnikava has prepared a statement to the Ministry of Justice in this regard.

11:40 am The Belarusian Journalist Association reports that the following five Gomel journalists are currently detained for covering the protests: Yevgeny Merkis, Nadezhda Puzhinskaya, Denis Yakshtas, Larisa Schiryakova, Anna Yakshtas.

12:00 pm There is some good news, too. In Babruysk, the court closed the case of Denis Nosov, a “Vecherny Babruysk” journalist, for lack of evidence.

The journalist was arrested on 4 October, while covering the Sunday protest rally in Babruysk. He spent three days in a temporary detention facility awaiting trial. Yesterday, the court reviewed the video footage from the event, which showed Nosov calmly walking a few meters behind the protesters without shouting any slogans.

As a result, judge Elena Gormash dismissed the case due to the absence of an administrative offense in Nosov’s actions. This is the first time a journalist gets acquitted by the court since the beginning of the protest.

12:06 pm In Gomel, a man set himself on fire in the street. Witnesses put out the fire and called the ambulance. They say the man shouted that he didn’t want to live.

It is not yet clear whether this self-immolation is directly related to the political situation in the country, but the general atmosphere of tension and fear might have played a role.

12:40 pm Users of social networks report that a convoy of armored vehicles, including a water cannon, drove to the center of Minsk.

1:00 pm A football match in solidarity with Anatoly Lebedko took place today in the Lebyadzin district of Minsk. The field was decorated with white-red-white flags.

Football match
Source: Belsat Telegram channel

1:00 pm Musician Andrus Takindang announced on his Facebook page that he is to present himself at the police department on 12 October. He doesn’t exclude the possibility of getting arrested.

1:15 pm Social media users continue to share information about the authorities’ preparation for today’s march. At the intersection of Nemanskaya and Lidskaya streets, 12 buses with covered windows and several prisoner transport vehicles were spotted. In the morning, a tow truck removed all cars from area. 

1:20 pm The Women’s March Against Political Repressions was held in Limassol (Cyprus).

Women's March in Limassol
Source: TUT.BY

1:30 pm Minsk State Linguistic University students started a protest in Minsk again. They chant “Every day” and read their own poems. 

1:30 pm The Women’s March Against Political Repressions started in Kyiv. 

2:00 pm Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya joined the Women’s March in Vilnius.

Tsikhanouskaya in Vilnius
Source: Belsat Telegram channel

2:15 pm Belarusian blogger Eduard Palchis’ wife announced that today Eduard met his lawyer. “He is all right. He is cheerful and in good health. He received a parcel from his family. From 27 September he was at the detention center, and he was told that he was serving a sentence of 30 days, starting from 27 September.”

2:40 pm In Zhdanovichi, an initiative called “Garbage Fighters” was started. A reader says that after the rural council ignored their request for garbage disposal, they decided to act independently and turned to the local authorities: “If you send utility workers to tear ribbons or paint over flags again, think about our street: there are still enough cigarette butts and glass, which is rather difficult to remove without special equipment”.

3:13 pm In Grodno, someone painted a pothole on the road with white-red-white stripes. After that, the road was completely repaired. 

3:24 pm The Pul Pervogo Telegram channel, which is close to Lukashenko’s press service, reported that “Alexander Lukashenko spent this morning in the KGB pre-trial detention center. More details will be provided shortly.” Numerous political prisoners are being held there, including ex-presidential candidate Viktar Babaryka and his son Eduard.

3:37 pm Anatoly Lebedko, a member of Tikhanovskaya’s team, went on a hunger strike in prison. Yesterday he was sentenced to 15 days in jail.

3:48 pm Unidentified masked men detained a man on Koltsov Street in Minsk. No protest actions were reported in that area.

4:50 pm Lukashenko had a meeting with political prisoners in the KGB pre-trial detention center. The meeting was attended by Viktar Babaryka and his son Eduard, Lilia Vlasova, a member of the Coordination Council, and other prisoners. The meeting lasted 4.5 hours, and the participants “by a common decision, decided to keep its contents secret.”

Meeting at the KBG detention center
Source: the Pul Pervogo Telegram channel

4:57 pm Svetlana Gatalskaya, a coordinator of the “March, baby” movement, was detained during the Women’s March.

5:19 pm The police searched the home of Yulia Barsukova, an activist from Vitebsk.

5:24 pm “Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty” reports that the administrator of the Minsk Traktorozavodsky Village Telegram chat group was probably detained. The chat group has been deleted.

5:48 pm Musician Timote Suladze was detained on Independence Avenue for playing protest songs.

5:59 pm A telephone conversation took place between Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Siarhei Tsikhanouski, Tsikhanouskaya’s Telegram channel reports.

6:18 pm According to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s advisor Franak Viačorka, she and her husband spoke about their children and Siarhei’s conditions in prison. Siarhei stated that he is following the news. “We have to get tougher, and continue meeting with the leaders of other countries,” he said. This was the first time the Tsikhanouskis had spoken since 29 May, the day Siarhei was arrested.

6:42 pm Viktar Babaryka’s attorney, Aliaksandr Pylchenko, was not informed of his client’s meeting with Lukashenko, and was “somewhat taken aback”, according to RBK.

6:50 pm “Lukashenko must go, our demands have not changed. The fact that he sat down at the negotiation table is to the credit of everyone who has been protesting for the last two months. Dialogue with those who are in prison, because he imprisoned them himself, is a sign of weakness. It is not worth believing a word he is saying,” wrote Pavel Latushka on his Telegram channel, in reference to Lukashenko’s unexpected meeting at the KGB detention center today.

6:56 pm Local protests and solidarity demonstrations have now become a regular occurrence in Belarus, and even routine.

Women in white and red carry flowers and walk along Independence Avenue in Minsk.
Source: TUT.BY

7:05 pm The “Pul Pervogo” Telegram channel has published part of Lukashenko’s visit to the KGB detention center today. Lukashenko believes that “the country’s motto is: give us dialogue”. 

7:40 pm Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s Telegram channel has published a transcript and video clip of her conversation with her husband today.

The couple talked about the children and the conditions of Siarhei’s detention. He said he was following all the news and advised to continue meeting the heads of foreign states. He believes it is necessary to  be even tougher than now. 

7:42 pm Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya commented on today’s meeting at the KGB prison and her conversation with her husband: 

“What happened today is the result of our and your pressure [on the regime]. By holding the meeting, Lukashenko admitted to the existence of political prisoners, whom he had previously claimed were common criminals. If he wants to demonstrate his willingness to hold dialogue, he should free the political prisoners immediately. Dialogue cannot be held in a prison cell. He speaks about constitutional reforms, while doing everything possible to weaken our protest. We will continue to hold strong and peacefully seek new elections.”

7:51 pm State TV channel “Belarus 1” broadcasted a story about Lukashenko’s visit to the KGB prison. It showed a handshake between the political prisoners and Lukashenko. The handshake between Lukashenko and Viktar Babaryka, who had previously been considered his main competitor, was not shown, and it is not known whether it happened at all.

8:15 pm A rally in support of the detained student of the Belarusian State Medical University was held near the detention center on Akrestsina Street.

8:31 pm A member of the UCP political council, Tatsiana Sivochenko, and 12 other people were detained in Homel. Tomorrow, Lukashenko will visit the city to open a clinic in one of the residential districts.

8:37 pm Blogger Ivan Ramezovsky was detained by the security services while streaming live in Homel. 

9:04 pm Traktorzavodsky village chat administrator Inna Vasilieva has been brought to the Investigation Committee for interrogation. Her technical equipment and phones were seized from her apartment following a search. Her lawyer is not allowed to see her. She is accused of “organizing mass riots”. 

9:22 pm Biometric passports and ID cards undergo pilot testing in Belarus and will be ready to use in 2021.

10:04 pm Local protests continue in Minsk and other cities of Belarus. For example, the protesters chant, “Long live Belarus” and “Lukashenka to the prisoner transporter” in Minsk’s Smena residential district.

10:05 pm Cyber Partisans have hacked the website of the National Archive of the Republic of Belarus. Now, the website is displaying the Cyber Partisan emblem and posts from Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s Telegram channel.

10:09 pm A representative of the Minsk city executive committee’s police department informed the media that several people had been detained at today’s protests.

10:11 pm The Gallery shopping center in Minsk will open tomorrow from 5:00 pm. It is located in one of the usual epicenters of the Sunday protests – on Niamiha. Zamok shopping center will open at 4:00 pm.

10:14 pm Belarusian peoples’ leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s Telegram channel now has 100,000 subscribers. Lukashenko’s press service Pul Pervogo Telegram channel has 88,000. 

10:22 pm Human rights defender Valery Schukin died in Minsk after a serious illness. He was 78. 

10:38 pm Cyber Partisans have hacked the website for Minsk Auto Factory (MAZ) and weather site Meteo.by. On both websites, they have posted the Cyber Partisans emblem and posts from Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s Telegram channel. 

10:45 pm The Ministry of Internal Affairs is investigating the Archbishop of the Catholic Church in Minsk and Mahiliou, Tadeusz Kandrusewicz, for holding citizenship in two countries. The results of the investigation are not yet known, according to the Ministry. The Archbishop has not been deprived of his Belarusian citizenship.

10:59 pm Cyber Partisans have hacked the websites of 15 state unions.