OMON breaks into Human Rights Center Viasna in Minsk
At around 1 pm, the OMON (Special Purpose Mobility Unit) officers blocked the work of the Human Rights Center Viasna.
As reported on the Twitter page of the organization.
“The doors are broken in the office. They are planning to conduct a search”, – said in the statement.
Witnesses report that 57 human rights defenders and volunteers were present in the office at that time, they were supposed oversee the rally in Minsk. They were put in the bus.
According to Tetyana Pechonchyk, Chairman of the Human Rights Information Centre, among 57 detained human rights defenders and volunteers are: Oleg Gulak, Head of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, Maria Chichtchenkova, representative of the international organization Frontline Defenders, Raisa Mikhailovskaya, Head of the Belarusian Documentation Centre, Eugenia Andreyuk, co-coordinator of the Ukrainian non-governmental organization Crimea SOS, Polina Brodik of Center for Civil Liberties.
As reported by Konstantin Reutski, journalist of the Hromadske TV (Public TV), law enforcement officers have also arrested Ales Bialiatski, Head of the Viasna Human Rights Center.
“It is probable that he was detained a few minutes before OMON officers broke into the office of the human rights center. He left the building and disappeared. There is no contact with him”, – said the journalist.
According to Konstantin Reutski, as of 3:40 pm all the detainees were released from the Pervomaisky District Police Department. Ales Bialiatski was also released.
Earlier, opposition leader Mikola Statkevich called on citizens to gather on that day at the Academy of Sciences in Minsk at 2 pm for a protest.
According to media reports, Belarusian police detains those who are on the square, under the pretext of checking documents.
According to TUT.by, law enforcement officers detained journalists of the Komsomolskaya Pravda Irina Kozlik, Darya Puteiko and Anna Rybchinskaya. They were broadcasting live from the Freedom Day. OMON officers refuse to check their documents.
“OMON officers advised the journalists to keep closer to the policemen in blue vests, said “so you will be safe”, – the newspaper notes.
In addition, it is reported that reporters of the TUT.by Ivan Yarivanovich and Elena Bychkova were detained in Gomel.
The Human Rights Center Viasna counted 300 people, whom the authorities are persecuting for participating in protest actions.
As a reminder, an unofficial holiday Freedom Day is celebrated on March 25 in Belarus. The holiday is dedicated to the anniversary of the declaration of the Belarusian People’s Republic.