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Zmitser Dashkevich: They will jail activists not for days, but for years ahead of 2015 election  ? 20

13:21, — Politics

Zmitser Dashkevich: They will jail activists not for days, but for years ahead of 2015 election

Arrests ahead of the Ice Hockey World Championship are how Lukashenka prepares for the next election.

Young Front co-chairman Zmitser Dashkevich, who was released after 25 days in custody, said it in an interview with

One of the activists said earlier that about 250 people are held in the detention centre in Akrestsin Street now. Did the situation change?

The inmates, who help police officer bring food for prisoners, said a couple of days ago that they had ordered 150 portions. I know that the police began to take people to the detention facility in Zhodzina since May 5 or May 6. It's hard to say the total number of inmates. About 150 people are held in Akrestsin Street. Cells are overcrowded. Eight people had to live in cells designed for just five inmates. There are many women among the inmates. It's clear that prostitutes were arrested. There are many civil and political activists. The police arrest even fans at Minsk Arena and Chyzhouka Arena. They have the order to send 100-200 people from each district to labour therapy centres. The mop-up operation lasted for more than a month, but it became especially aggressive during the championship.

What do the mass arrests of opposition before and during the ice hockey championship mean, in your opinion?

We can say that Lukashenka has started preparations for the 2015 elections. I think he tries the scheme and see the public reaction. The police catch people near their homes. They don't need any pickets, rallies and protests to arrest someone. They have lists, like in Stalin's time. Stalin had the lists to execute people, but our authorities use them to throw people behind bars and isolate them from the normal life for a month. It's possible that they will began to jail people not for days, but for a couple of years ahead of the 2015 election.

Did the authorities threaten you after the release?

Yes. I was taken to the Pershamaiski district police station yesterday and issued a warning that after the next warning, which will be the third one, a criminal case would be opened against me.

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