Saturday, March 25, 2006

That can't be good

RALLY, BRUTALITY IN BELARUS

Publius Pundit reports:

The other opposition candidate, Alexander Kozulin, marched a few hundred people to a detention center where the October Square demonstrators had been taken to. They faced a SWAT team and the army. Just hours after the peaceful rally, they were all beaten.

The head of the SWAT team beat Kozulin and arrested him. They fired smoke grenades, noise-makers, and tear gas into the crowd. They exploded directly above people. One by one they were stripped away and beaten in the face, back, and legs with batons until they bled. The women, instead, were punched in the face. Then they were taken away in paddywagons to who knows where. At least one person is confirmed dead with a skull injury. Even sicker is that Belarus state television showed up so that they could film a beaten man and say that he was stomped on by his fellow protestors. The protestors are hardly the animals here. All they could do was throw snowballs back at them.

Milinkevich's press secretary Pavel Mazhejka was briefly detained, and for awhile Milinkevich himself was nowhere to be found. But he is alright and has said that the authorities are fully responsible for the slaughter of the protestors and they will be held to account. He has sworn that Lukashenko will not finish this five year term. It has become the top news on CNN.

Br23 reports that arrests and detentions are now occurring in other parts of the city, with riot police showing up where young people hang out, throwing them face down into the mud, and dragging them into the wagons. He also reports that the state telecommunications monopoly has shut limited the dial-up internet access for a time.

Ivan Lenin has translations from LiveJournalist Lipski who details a bit about the rally, and then even more about the second march that preceded the terrifying crackdown. Make sure to read those reports, especially for the little significant details.

This is all that is really known right now. We have to wait for more on-the-scene news and blog reports to come out and then wait for them to be translated. This post will be updated continuously as that news comes out. Scroll here as well. The Interior Minister is saying that an "unexplained" device blew up and that terrorists were behind the explosion. An impressive story, for sure, if only it were true.

Today was the largest rally in Belarus' post-Soviet history. It was also the single bloodiest one day as well. What happens next will be up to the opposition. Lukashenko will continue to rule by force, but he won't be able to now that the people are slowly but surely beginning to fight back. Milinkevich's plan is to create a popular movement to liberate Belarus from Lukashenko. The revolution has already begun in the minds of the people. The revolution that overthrows Lukashenko will take years of connecting people and helping them to resist. But that day will certainly come. Read it all

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