Independence Day in Minsk: Authorities celebrating, opposition protesting

Minsk: Parade vs protests. 03.07.2017

About 200 persons have taken part in a protest rally organised by former political prisoner Mikalai Statkevich in downtown Minsk.

It should be noted that today the parade has been held on the occasion of Independence Day. Earlier it had been commemorated on July 27, its celebration being coincided with the day of passing the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1990. As a result of the 1996 republican referendum, the Independence Day started to be celebrated On 3 July.

At about 13:40 people began gathering in Kastrychnitskaya Square. Some of them unfolded a banner with the inscription BASTA! The participants were chanting ‘Long Live Belarus!’ Police cars were seen in the vicinity.

Mikalai Statkevich called on the protesters to march along Independence Avenue to Independence Square. The was accompanied by police officers in plain clothes. Dzmitry Balaba, the commander of Minsk riot police, was also present.

No one was arrested or beaten during the rally. The protesters urged the government to cancel the joint Russian-Belarusian war game West-2017.

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