Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Siege Of Minsk, 2006 - Day 5: The Symbolic/Physical Siege At The Heart Of 21st Century Europe Continues With Beatings And Seizures Of Food

MINSK, Belarus (AP)- "Assailants attacked an aide to the opposition leader in Belarus on Thursday after state TV broadcast a recording of an alleged conversation in which he consulted with a Polish NGO on protest strategies, an opposition spokesman said.

The alleged beating was among the latest incidents in what opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich called a campaign of persecution against Belarusians challenging authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko's re-election....

Viktor Korniyenko, a deputy chief on Milinkevich's staff, was beaten by two assailants in the entranceway to his apartment building, Milinkevich spokesman Pavel Mazheika said. The attackers clubbed Korniyenko on the head and he was hospitalized in serious condition, Mazheika said. ...

Early Thursday, Milinkevich told tent camp residents entering the fourth day of a round-the-clock vigil that they had defied expectations by maintaining their vigil as long as they have....

Milinkevich said that although the demonstrations have been comparatively small numerically and have not succeeded in achieving their demand of new elections, they represented a big step forward.

"Nobody had expected what has happened here," he said.

Police have not moved to disperse the protesters, but they have picked up many would-be participants and supporters. The human rights center Vyasna said that more than 150 people have been detained in connection with the protests against the election, some of them released but others tried and sentenced — usually to a week or two behind bars....

Vyasna said Thursday that 20-30 people were detained near the square overnight. The Interior Ministry said police had detained about 15 people over the previous 24 hours for taking part in the unsanctioned protest, the Interfax news agency reported. The ministry declined to comment....

Gearing up for a major test of strength, Milinkevich emphasized his call for protesters to come out in force on Saturday, the anniversary of the declaration of the first, short-lived independent Belarusian republic in 1918."

Yuras Karmanau, Associated Press Writer "Belarus Opposition Says Deputy Attacked" March 23, 2006 via


GENEVA, March 23 (Reuters) - "A United Nations rights envoy on Thursday called for the release of demonstrators arrested after a weekend presidential election in Belarus that international observers have rejected as unfair.

Adrian Severin, the U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights of Belarus, said that more than 100 people protesting Alexander Lukashenko's runaway victory were detained and many others were blocked from joining demonstrations.

In a statement issued in Geneva, he urged authorities "to release immediately and unconditionally all political prisoners, and to bring all violations of freedom of expression and of the right of peaceful assembly to an immediate end." " ...


March 23, 2006 -- "London-based Amnesty International, citing figures from the Belarusian rights group, Vyasna, said in a written statement that at least 128 people are believed to have been detained since the elections on March 19.

The group estimated that the number of arrests could be as high as 400 nationwide.

The statement said large numbers of peaceful demonstrators have been detained and reportedly beaten by security forces in an apparent attempt to intimidate demonstrators.

AI called for the immediate release of all people detained for the legitimate and peaceful expression of their views."

Belarusian policemen stand at a bus stop next to democratic opposition rally to prevent food being delivered to demonstrators holding round-the-clock protests against elections in central Minsk, Belarus. Wednesday, March 22, 2006.

Photo credit: Associated Press via Yahoo News With thanks.


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