‘They’d better not hurt people’. Opposition politician set to hold march on Freedom Day

An application for holding a march on the occasion of Freedom Day has been submitted at Minsk city executive committee on Wednesday, Syarhei Sparysh, a representative of the organizing committee for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Belarus’ nationhood proclamation, told belsat.eu.

According to him, the March for Dignity and Freedom is to begin with a rally at 12.00 in Yakub Kolas Square. From there, the participants will march along Independence Avenue to Paris Commune Square.

The applicants (Mikalai Statkevich’s associate Syarhei Sparysh, Valyantsin Trotski and Ihar Krauchanka) take responsibility for compliance with the law, public order and security during the event.

Last week, the city authorities allowed to hold a Freedom Day concert and a rally next to the Opera and Ballet Theatre, but banned the applicants from marching.

Part of the organizing committee agreed to such a compromise, but filed an appeal with Minsk City Executive Committee about the viability of the rally. The second part approved the decision of the authorities, but continues to insist on the march through the city.

“At the moment, the ball is in the authorities’ court, but we want to show our decent celebrating of the 100th anniversary of the BNR to them and the whole world. We also want to show that we have not forgotten about the people who protested last year; we remember them and their problems,” former political prisoner Mikalai Statkevich told Belsat.

According to the politician, a crackdown on the march (even if it will not be authorised) is highly unlikely.

“At the moment, there is no such protest sentiment as it was a year ago, therefore, [the authorities have] no such fear. They’d better not hurt people,” he said.


March 25, 2018 will be the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the Belarusian People’s Republic. It came into existence at the end of the First World War, when Bolshevik forces left Minsk and the city was occupied by German troops. On March 25, 1918 the Provisional Government (Rada) proclaimed the independence of the BNR. After the Red Army re-entered Minsk, the Communist government replaced the Rada; its members had to emigrate.