Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Alexander Milinkevich's and Alexander Kozulin's 'Resurrection City' To Stay In Place On Minsk Central Square Rebuilt From Nazi Ruin

MINSK, Belarus (AP) - "A defiant opposition leader urged supporters camped in a freezing central square Tuesday night to keep up their daily demonstrations against authoritarian Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who was re-elected in voting widely denounced as a farce.

Opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich also called for a large show of strength on Saturday.

"We will stay here until the 25th, and on the 25th we will gather here to fight for our future," Milinkevich told the crowd on the third day of protests of Sunday's election that gave Lukashenko five more years in power. "Come here every day to speak of freedom."

Speaking in the glow from TV cameras after lighting on Oktyabrskaya Square was shut off [by the Lukashenka regime], Milinkevich said that "the authorities want to destroy this small city of freedom" - referring to a tent camp where dozens of demonstrators spent the night. "We will not let them do it."

Milinkevich had said earlier that he planned to urge demonstrators to end their unprecedented three-day protest later Tuesday and resume it on Saturday. But when he arrived at the square, he made no call for a tent camp to be removed and stressed protests should be kept up.

Halting the daily protests could have led to a loss of momentum, and removal of the tent camp could have been seen as ceding the square - both symbolically and physically - to the authorities.

Saturday is a key date for the opposition: the anniversary of the declaration of independence of the first, short-lived Belarusian republic in 1918, and a traditional day for Lukashenka's opponents to gather." ...

Jim Heintz (Associated Press) "Belarus Opposition Leader Urges Supporters" Guardian Unlimited March 21, 2006.


Archival images of the Nazi destruction of Minsk, Belarus, and its post-war reconstruction by young workers who camped out on the streets of Minsk and other Belarusian cities. (Between one-fourth and one-third of the citizens of Belarus were killed in the Second World War. Before the war, Minsk had large Jewish and Muslim (Tartar) communities, as well as large Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Christian communities).

The young, strong, and brave residents of Minsk and Belarus are today continuing the process of rebuilding their homeland and captial city which was heavily destroyed by the Nazis in World War II (the Soviet Great Patriotic War). Today's democratic protesters are camped out near the highly moving Belarusian National Museum to the Sacrifices of the Great Patriot War -- and directly in front of the new Palace of the Republic Building; completed in 2001, after 15 years of construction.

Photo credits: Archival images. National Museum of Belarus. With thanks.



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