Mikalai Statkevich, Chairman of the Narodnaya Hramada party and a former political prisoners, is calling on Belarusians to take part in a protest rally on July 3 in Minsk.
“Last year, we came to Kastrychnitskaya Square to remind people that all holidays in the country had been taken away by Lukashenka. But there was more pressing problem at that moment, i.e. Russian military exercises. This year, the issue of Kurapaty is very sensitive. If there had been no mass repressions in 1937, the war сould not have happened. Many promising young commanders were killed then, they lie in the mass graves, not only in Kurapaty, but also in Chelyuskinites Park. Therefore, the rally will be our response to the situation around Kurapaty, the response to the authorities exploiting the national tragedy,” the politician told belsat.eu.
Defenders of Kurapaty, the place of Stalin-era executions near Minsk, keep protesting against ‘dancing on the bones’, i.e. opening the restaurant Let’s Go And Eat in the close vicinity of the mass grave. Activists first asked the authorities to interfere with the situation, and then decided to act independently. They are trying to block the arrival of cars to the territory of the restaurant.
“What independence do they celebrate? From whom? The country is occupie. Every year a man in the NKVD uniform is present at the military parade [reference to Interior Minister Shunevich],” he added.
According to the plan, the participants will start gathering at 13:00 near the entrance to Chelyuskinites Park metro station. Then they will lay flowers at the monument to Soviet soldiers in Tolbukhin street and the memorial cross of the victims of Stalinist repression located in the park.
“If the authorities try to derail our plans and start preventive arrests, the participants will go to the centre, where the parade will be taking place,and raise posters. In this case, I will not censor their contents,” Statkevich said.
He has already addressed other opposition politicians and activists (in particular, defenders of Kurapaty) with a proposal to support the initiative and join the rally.
The official Independence day is celebrated on July 3, on the day of liberation of the Belarusian capital from German invaders. Such decision was taken by the republican referendum held in1996. Earlier the Independence day 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.