One of the leaders of sole traders’ movement was released after 15 days’ arrest for a national flag.
A public activist Ales Makaeu told the editorial office of charter97.org the details of his arrest and told that he knew what expected him after he ran up a white-red-white flag.
- What were your incarceration conditions in Akrestsin Street detention centre?
- It was very hot in the cells, but it could have been worse. There were 2 inmates in a cell, there was renovation on the fourth floor, so the cell I was after renovation, it was cleaner and newer than others, there was less unpleasant smell.
- Who were your fellow inmates?
- There were normal people, but once a guy suffering from delirium tremens was placed into my cell. Even policemen were afraid to enter for a check. He was a little riotous, breaking everything around him…
- We have heard that many people came to meet you.
- Yes, it was very pleasant for me, that 40 persons gathered to greet me, it was surprising, I felt a little abashed. It would be cool to meet all activists with such crowd of people, as solidarity is a great thing.
- What happened to the flag which was the reason for your detention? Was it returned to you?
- When I hoisted the flag, I knew that I would be detained, as people are beaten up for this flag in Belarus, criminal cases are opened against them. But I was arrested and served the term for alleged using foul speech, for interfering with passers-by, for showing resistance to policemen during the arrest. That didn’t happen in reality certainly. The flag was not even mentioned in the documents: policemen entered it into the inventory of things seized during the arrest, and later this line was erased by a correction fluid, as if the flag hadn’t existed at all. The flag was not returned. As if they wanted to show that the flag is not forbidden in our country, and people are not arrested for that. And that was the real holiday that, the Independence Day! A galaxy of people sacrificed their lives for our independence, and that day inspired me to run up the flag.
- Will you hoist a white-red-white flag again?
- Certainly. One should fight when such things happen. A flag should be held with dignity.
We remind that yesterday a public activist Ales Makaeu was released after a 15-days’ arrest. He was detained on July 27 not far from the Red Roman Catholic Church in Minsk after the prayer for political prisoners. He had brought a white-red-white flag with him on the occasion of the Independence Day, and was detained because of that.