Lyabedzka, Zavadskaya, Sasim… Who’ll be the next? 11:36, 19/09/2005, Photo by Reuters
Coordinator of the youth resistance movement Zubr Mikita Sasim was hospitalized to the clinical hospital number 9 and was diagnosed a “traumatic brain injury”. Sasim was beaten up by officers of the Minsk riot police during the disbanding of the protest rally “We Remember”, that was held in the center of Minsk on September 16. Beside Mikita Sasim, at least five Zubr activists received bodily injury during dispersing of the peaceful action.
On September 17 the Zubr coordinator have handed in a written statement demanding to bring to justice the policemen from the Minsk riot police. Policemen from the police department of the Tsentralny district police department of Minsk registered the application. According to the principle of jurisdiction this application is to be transferred to the Prosecutor’s office.
The protest rally “We Remember” with a demand to investigate abductions of politicians, public figures and a journalist in Belarus, was held on September 16, on the day when vice-prime minister Viktar Hanchar and a businessman and public personality Anatol Krasouski disappeared six years ago. About 100 people, mostly Zubr activists, went to Kastrychnitskaya Square of Minsk with the portraits of the prominent people who disappeared without traces in 1999-2000: vice-prime minister of Belarus Viktar Hanchar, businessman and a public figure Anatol Krasouski, and journalist Dzmitry Zavadski. People, who were peacefully standing on the square, were disbanded by Minsk riot police. Several dozens of law-enforcers in uniform and in plainclothes forced the protesters from the square.
During the protest rally riot policemen snatched the national white-red-white flag from the hands of the protesters. Then Mikita Sasim took off his jeans shirt, tied it around a flag pole, making a flag of it, and started waving it, chanting “Long live Belarus!” The reaction of the riot policemen was an immediate one. They attacked the Zubr coordinator, and beating him brutally, started to seize the shirt from his hands.
It is not the first occasion when peaceful policemen are beaten in Belarus. On July 7, on the anniversary of the disappearance of the journalist Dzmitry Zakharanka, Minsk riot police officer slapped on the face a wife of the disappeared journalist, Svyatlana Zavadskaya. On April 26, during the Charnobylski Shliakkh, riot policeman almost dislocated the arm of the Zubr activists for wearing a T-shirt with the portrait of the political prisoner Mikhail Maryncih. On October 19, 2004 in Minsk during the protest action against the rigged results of the election and referendum, after being beaten up by policemen, a chairman of the United Civil Party Anatol Lyabedzka was placed to a hospital. There are numerous examples of such facts; however Belarusian supervisory authorities have never reacted in a due way to these facts. Neither riot policemen nor policemen have been brought to account for the cruelties they resort to during the disbanding of peaceful protest meetings.
Instead of fulfilling his promises to clear the fate of the disappeared oppositionists, Lukashenka is sending riot policemen to crackdown on peaceful Belarusians, thus demonstrating authorities’ involvement in these cases.