Protests in Kurapaty continue: Former political prisoner, elderly activist detained (livestream)

The Minsk police have detained politician and former political prisoner Pavel Sevyarynets and famous Belarusian activist Nina Bahinskaya.

СТРЫМ! Абаронцы Курапатаў збіраюцца на Галгофе ва ўрочышчы.

Opublikowany przez Белсат TV Piątek, 5 kwietnia 2019

The riot policemen (OMON) dragged them by the hands to a police bus and drove away. The both were trying to prevent workers from digging in Kurapaty, a Stalin-era mass grave near Minsk. The workers have apparently been tasked with fencing off the area from which dozens of crosses were taken away at the order of the Belarusian authorities.

Hundreds of Belarusians who were shocked at the situation attended a common prayer in Kurapaty on Thursday evening. Today, the activists and those who care are set to gather together, say prayers and discuss their further plans to defend the mass executions site and the memory of the killed. Belsat TV will be livestreaming the meetings.

Зараз на Галгофе распачнецца малітва, якую мусіў ладзіць Павел Севярынец, але ён быў затрыманы сёння раніцай у Курапатах. Ладзіць малітву будзе жонка Паўла Севярынца Вольга. СТРЫМ

Opublikowany przez Белсат TV Piątek, 5 kwietnia 2019

Зміцер Дашкевіч склікаў грамадскі сход у Курапатах, каб разам вырашыць, што далей рабіць. СТРЫМ

Opublikowany przez Белсат TV Piątek, 5 kwietnia 2019

On April 4, bulldozers and other building machinery were driven to Kurapaty Forest near Minsk, where the NKVD, Stalin’s secret police executed and buried up to 250,000 persons in the 30-40s. About 70 wooden crosses were rooted out; over a dozen activists and politicians defending Kurapaty were detained.

Hundreds of crosses were installed by Belarusian activists who felt it their duty to pay the tribute to the memory of the executed. It was not until 2018 that the authorities directed their attention to Kurapaty: an official memorial to the victims was erected at the order of the Federation of the Trade Unions. Back in 1989, the BSSR Council of Ministers signed a decree to perpetuate the memory of the victims in Kurapaty. In 1993, the memorial was granted the status of historical and cultural value ​​of international importance. However, after Alyaksandr Lukashenka came to power, the Kurapaty topic was silenced. Incidentally, over his 25-year rule, the head of the country has never visited the place.

It should be noted that Lukashenka slammed ‘ demonstrating with crosses’ in Kurapaty during The Big Conversation With President on March, 1. However, he also promised that there would never be sort of Stalinism in Belarus, even ‘under the dictatorship of Lukashenka’.

Belarus regime removing crosses at Stalin-era mass grave site near Minsk

Unfortunately, barbaric acts have become a fact of life in Kurapaty. In February, the so-called Clinton’s Bench was demolished; it was presented by the then U.S. President Bill Clinton who visited the mass grave site in 1994. It has been vandalized about 20 times, but the Belarusian authorities have never traced committers. In March, unknown individuals covered two monuments in Kurapaty with anti-Semitic slogans and Magen David drawings.

Since May 2018, the group of Belarusian activists is protesting against ‘dancing on the bones’, i.e.the activity of Let’s Go And Eat restaurant in the vicinity of the mass grave under the passive eye of the local authorities. According to the protesters, its construction and opening at the very place was illegal. Activists first asked the authorities to interfere with the situation, and then decided to act independently. They are trying not to let cars to the territory of the restaurant. The Minsk police have already drawn dozens of protocols against activists who had blocked the restaurant that opened at the site of the massacre.