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Marco Fieber | 13.09.2016

A few hundred against the regime

Around 300 people responded to the call by oppositional politicians Mikalai Statkevich and Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu to protest in October Square on 12 September against the rigged parliamentary elections. The gathering in central Minsk started peacefully, but after the authorities tried to provoke the demonstrators, they began to march in protest.

Statkevich and Nyaklyayeu, both presidential candidates in 2010 and former political prisoners, opened the demonstration with speeches describing the unfairness of the elections the day before and the lack of basic democratic principles in Belarus. The organisers were supported by the Malady Front 'Young Front' and the solidarity movement Razam! 'Together!'. Nyaklyayeu said that the two newly elected oppositional deputies were "just appointed to their posts".

Zmitser Dashkevich, leader of the Malady Front, summed up the general attitude towards the protesters: "Frankly speaking, nobody is interested either in the elections or in the protest." After the police tried to detain some of the speakers, a scuffle with the police forces – some of them in Russia outfits – started. But the group of protesters was able to prevent further action by the authorities and spontaneously decided to march to Independence Square. There at around 20:00, two hours after the start of the gathering, the participants dispersed with no further major aggravation.

"For new elections!" (Photo: Marco Fieber)
Flags of the Malady Front (Photo: Marco Fieber)
Zmitser Dashkevich and Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu (Photo: Marco Fieber)
Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu speaking, with Mikalai Statkevich next to him. On the banner: "Lukashenko, go away!" (Photo: Marco Fieber)
Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu speaks in October Square in front of around 300 people and dozens of journalists. (Photo: Marco Fieber)
Demonstrators in October Square (Photo: Marco Fieber)
Pavel Prakapovich of the Belarusian Christian Democratic Party waves a Malady Front flag. (Photo: Marco Fieber)
A police officer among the group of protesters. (Photo: Marco Fieber)
Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu protesting. (Photo: Marco Fieber)
Mikalai Statkevich leads the crowd towards Independence Prospekt. (Photo: Marco Fieber)
The front banner: "For new elections!" (Photo: Marco Fieber)
The protesters try to involve passing drivers. (Photo: Marco Fieber)
Passers-by observing the demonstration. (Photo: Marco Fieber)
The march passes the KGB headquarters. (Photo: Marco Fieber)
Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu speaks to the protestors in front of KGB headquarters. (Photo: Marco Fieber)
The group of around 300 protesters on Independence Prospekt. (Photo: Marco Fieber)
Mikalai Statkevich speaking in Independence Square. (Photo: Marco Fieber)
Zmitser Dashkevich speaking in Independence Square. (Photo: Marco Fieber)
Zmitser Dashkevich reciting a poem in front of the crowd. (Photo: Marco Fieber)
Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu speaking in Independence Square. (Photo: Marco Fieber)


Marco Fieber is project coordinator of Belarus Votes and Chairman of Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights in Germany. He has an M.A. in East European Studies.