Authorities plan to provoke incidents during demonstration on Belarusian National Republic anniversary, organizer warns

 

Authorities plan to provoke incidents during the demonstration to be staged in Minsk on Wednesday evening to celebrate the 91st anniversary of the Belarusian National Republic, Viktar Ivashkevich, deputy chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front, told reporters in Minsk earlier in the day.

According to Mr. Ivashkevich, a "reliable source" in law-enforcement agencies tipped him off about a possible scenario of one such provocation. "It became known to us that old police cars may be used to block the expected route of the march," Mr. Ivashkevich said. "Several dozen provocateurs have been found to overturn those cars. A special order to record this provocation on video has been given to Belarusian Television. Riot police are ready to crack down on demonstration participants."

The provocation has failed because the organizers of the demonstration have learned about the plot, Mr. Ivashkevich said. "That’s why we call on the police leadership to send the specially trained men where they will come from and to bring the cars back to their base," he said.

Self-discipline and self-organization are the best way for demonstrators to prevent undesirable incidents, Mr. Ivashkevich said.

The only incidents that have ever occurred during opposition demonstrations were orchestrated by the KGB, said Lyavon Barshchewski, chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front. "We don't want to give provocateurs an opportunity to disrupt the demonstration and spoil people's celebration," he said. "We aren't going to violate any laws. We'll simply greet people on this holiday and act in a decent and peaceful manner."

The Minsk City Executive Committee has denied permission for a march through the center of the city from the National Academy of Sciences to Kastrychnitskaya Square, which the organizers of the demonstration planned to stage. The city government has suggested that the demonstrators march from the Academy of Sciences to Bangalore Square on the outskirts of Minsk.

According to the organizers, the demonstration will begin with a rally in front of the Academy of Sciences and then participants will be asked to decide for themselves what to do next.

The Minsk city police chief warned earlier this week that “any law violations and offenses against the safety of people during street demonstrations” would be prevented.

The Belarusian Popular Front and the Conservative Christian Party have been warned against violating the Mass Event Law. //BelaPAN