Police in Minsk try to prevent collection of signatures for petition calling for return to believers of former Catholic church

Police try to prevent activists of Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD) from collecting signatures for a petition calling for the return to believers of the former St. Joseph Catholic Church in downtown Minsk.

BCD Co-chairman Paval Sevyarynets and two other activists of the unregistered party, Yawhen Korsak and Syarhey Vasilyew, were arrested by police while they were collecting signatures near St. Simon and St. Helena Church (Red Church) in Minsk’s Independence Square.

“We were arrested at about 7:40 p.m. and taken to the Maskowski district police station, where we were fingerprinted and filmed on a video camera,” Mr. Sevyarynets told BelaPAN.

According to him, the police seized sheets containing 20 signatures and 12 blank sheets. The three men were released without a charge after an hour and a half.

Two more BCD signature collectors, Lyubow Kameneva and Anton Trafimchuk, were arrested in Independence Square at about 2 p.m. on Sunday. They were also taken to the Maskowski district police station and were soon released after signature sheets were taken away from them.