Minsk on Freedom Day: Brutal detentions, beatings of protesters, passers-by

The riot police (OMON) have arrested hundreds of persons who dared to take to the streets in Minsk.

A rally against the infamous ‘parasite’ decree started today in Minsk at 14:00. There was also planned a celebration of the Freedom Day — unofficial holiday on account of the foundation of the first Belarusian nation-state — the Belarusian People’s Republic.

The detainees were put into paddy wagons near Yakub Kolas Square, the Academy of Sciences and Victory Square. According to reporters and witnesses, even ordinary passers-by and elderly people were detained.

At the moment, there is a problem with the mobile internet in downtown Minsk. Many streets are cordoned off by riot policemen carrying with shields. They divide groups of people, grab one by one and ‘pack’ into paddy wagons.

According to spring96.org, OMON soldiers were catching each and all in Yakub Kolas Square.

About 200 people are being kept in Zavadzki district police station, many were battered. 120 persons are in Maskouski district police station, some of them are being beaten by the policemen, kp.by journalist Ira Kozlik reports.

Not far from the Philarmony OMON violently grabbed people.

Shortly before the start of the Freedom Day march in Minsk, OMON broke in the office of the human rights organization ‘Viasna’ and ordered everyone to lay to the ground face first.

The police are hunting ournalists of independent mass media, including Belsat.eu, TUT.BY, belapan.by, nn.bynovychas.by.

Detaining a ‘dangerous special criminal’? Three OMON riot policemen grabbing elderly man 

Detainees, journalists among them. Photo by Volha Bykouskaya:

Many regional ctivists who were about to take part in the rally in Minsk were also detained.