Several people were charged with illegal usage of forest resources and distribution of extremist materials after GUBOPiK (Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption, – a branch of Ministry of Internal Affairs, which executes the functions of political police in Belarus) supported by special task forces attacked an informal anarchist meeting. According to the ABC-Belarus reports, there were around 20 participants at the camping site. Below you can read the first-person evidence of one of the participants of the camp.
“JUST ANOTHER THREAT SHOW
The journalists must be tired of writing about the anarchists being arrested, beaten up, etc. So I’m really sorry, dear colleagues, for this having happened again, yesterday, 30 June, when 17 young men and women of anarchist views met for an informal meeting on the outskirts of Krupki (Minsk district, Belarus), looking forward for interesting discussion and camping in a nice company of comrades.
Having found a beautiful glade in the forest, we pitched our tents, organized an improvised kitchen, put up the canopy, and began our activities.
About 3 p.m., when we were preparing to the next discussion, we suddenly heard the sub-machine gun burst, and people in masks in body armor and with a variety of weapons arrived, shouting “Everybody down!!!”, – they made everyone lie on the ground. – The police operatives – also masked – came after them.. They started filming us, asking for our names and reasons why we were here, in which quantity, whom had we come with.
The most ridiculous were the policeman’s attempts to prove that they had come… because of the illegal felling of trees!
‘Who was engaged in logging? Whose saws and axes are these? Do you know how old are these trees?!’ – That was said about two dry pine trees that we used as banks.
Time to time they were beating those who disobeyed the orders or just was looking to the sides whilst lying down. Not everyone of them showed their documents. One man from the environmental inspection, and another one who was wearing the mask, showed their identity cards of the members of SOBR (Rapid Deployment Special Force – the special unit of Ministy of Internal Affairs). The policemen in masks refused to show any documents, but I’m sure it were the operatives of GUBOPiK (Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption, – a branch of Ministry of Internal Affairs, which executes the functions of political police in Belarus).
If talking about me personally, I was beaten two times: when I tried to run away from the SOBR guys, and when the guys from GUBOPiK took me aside “to talk a bit”. Nevertheless, they hit me not very painfully, probably having had received the order not to be too cruel. That “special operation” lasted seven hours, six of which I spent in handcuffs, mostly lying on the ground face down, under the rain. I was taken aside for two “conversations”, the main sense of which was: ‘For what a f**k have you returned, get out to you Europe or we’ll find a way to deal with you’. Surprisingly, they mentioned my articles, swearing. One of the GUBOPiK operatives also said, anyway: ‘We can find you abroad too’, and added that I was ‘slander my motherland for money’.
For a most of time we were lying face down on the ground, waiting for arrival of various services and officials or for being called for inspection of our tents. The rain and the cold were the main problems. Some of us were made to knees, somebody was made lay down on the wet grass. Not mentioning such “small points” as constant insults, threats, kicks and stepping on lying people. One of our comrades was discovered to be having the stickers of the anarchist group ‘Pramen’ (‘The Ray’) – they took him aside and tried to make a video with him telling about that stickers. He refused, and they began to beat him. As soon as we noticed it and raised a cry, they stopped.
Then our things were inspected. The inspectors arrived with witnesses who were the guys from local Open-type penal colony (i.e. people totally dependent from the cops). At the end we counted and came to a conclusion that during the day our camp in the forest was visited by at least 40 cops.
Finally they drafted protocols onto 2 people from our group (about “The distribution of the extremist materials” and “Illegal vegetation removal”), and confiscated the anarchist brochures and stickers.
From the very beginning we were sure that we were facing minor detention, as it usually happens after the riot police assaults anarchist events, being morally prepared to that. But, to our surprised, the SOBR and GUBOPiK left around 21.00. Then the inspectors left us too, having handed us documents ordering us to appear in the court the 6th July. Finally, at about 10 p.m., we were left alone in our destroyed camp in the forest.
Here are the top cops quotes:
“Fucking burnouts and drug addicts!”
“Is this your tent? And what if we find the woman stuff there, ha-ha?”
‘Dziadok will f**k away to his Europe, and you all will puff for him!’
(To the young comrade): ‘It is Dziadok who invited you here? What did he promise to you?’
“Just tell us who were cutting the trees, and we’ll free you!”
(The investigator, on the phone): “How can I ask for their documents, they are all masked and with machine-guns!”
There were positive sides of the situation also. Noone of us gave a written explanation to the police, despite they demanded it. Neither anyone has told them anything beside their identity information. ‘What were you doing here?’ – ‘Relaxing’. – ‘Whom do you know here?’ – ‘Nobody’. In spite of the threats and beatings, everyone’s behavior was decent.
Now my condition is not good enough to draw large-scale conclusions. I’ll just tell one thing: Ok, we were left beaten and humiliated; well, the police managed to have got informed about our closed meeting and to disrupt it. But they couldn’t do anything with our solidarity, with our belief in our ideas. We have already survived a lot of things, we’ll survive it too. Without any pathos: that hounds haven’t achieved anything.
After a bit of sleep and treatment, I’ll continue sharing my thoughts.”
Source: http://fb.com/happymikola (with few explanatory notes and additions).
Allegedly, the one who have leaded the SOBR and orchestrated the beating, interrogations and humiliations of the activists was Michail Bedunkevich – the chief of the 3-rd bureau of the GUBOPiK (“An anti-extremist bureau”). Previously he was involved in threatening anarchists and antifa, and falsificating criminal cases against them.
During the crackdown, a lot of “extremist” materials were confiscated and will never be returned which is a huge financial damage to those organizing local distros. Those willing to support the Belarusian anarchists can donate to Anarchist Black Cross Belarus.
It is not the first time Belarusian political police with support of the special task forces attack anarchist events in Belarus.
– June, 2017. Riot police attacks the visitors the punk-concert in Baranovichi. 3 ppl got 5 days in prison.
– August, 2017. Riot police attacks the lecture of Russian antifascist Alexey Sutuga in Baranovichi. 15 ppl arrested.
– October, 2017. Riot police attacks the lecture of Russian anarchist Pyotr Ryabov. 20 ppl arrested.
– October, 2017. Riot police attacks the antifascist concert in Minsk. Around 50 ppl arrested.