On 22 August, Belarusians released from detention facilities held the performance “My cell” to showcase police brutality. Later this week, a disturbing video filmed inside a police van was published, as well as numerous videos of victims recalling what happened to them in cells. While protests continued on 28 August for the 20th day in a row, new detentions happen daily.
Despite documented reports of torture, testimonies of witnesses, and confirmed medical examinations, to date, the Belarusian authorities have not initiated any criminal investigations into the conduct of the riot police and special security forces has been initiated by Belarusian authorities.
Instead, on 18 August, Mr. Lukashenka awarded more than 300 members of the security forces with Medals for Impeccable Service.
At the time when Lukashenka was awarding police officers, it was already known that protesters are being tortured in detention centers. And after many detainees were released, they provided yet more shocking evidence. Police officers not only used excessive violence but also threatened constantly “to kill and throw you away in the forest.”
“I was brought here [to the detention facility]. There was a woman there at the entrance who would just beat you on your legs. I guess to assert herself, or something… And she is just asking: ‘How are you, little bitch.’ And then she takes you and stands you against a wall just throwing you at the wall as if you are an object. Forces you to undress. When you put your feet shoulders width apart like you are supposed to, hands behind your back, she beats you even more. All over your legs. To such a degree that you almost slide down in a split. And you cry from the pain because it hurts, they have really hard shoes,” recalls Aleksandra, one of the detained protesters in a video.
Yet another video was published by a detained Minsk resident. He didn’t switch his camera off after the detention and later discovered that police failed to delete the video from the device.
“I will never forget that sound, the sound of police batons,” says Denis.
He was participating in a “chain of solidarity” when riot police came. He raised his hands, did not resist. However, along with other detainees, he was beaten.
On 22 August, the “My Cell” demonstration was held in the Minsk city center. Participants stood inside small squares marked by white lines on the streets — imaginary cells. All of them held posters telling about the horrors that happened to them during the detention.
During detentions, in a real cell meant for 6 people, up to 50 people could be crammed. The same number of demonstrators stood within the cell perimeter marked on the street. The torture, abuse, and humiliation committed against protesters in police vans, local police stations, and detention facilities have already been compared to the horrors of Auschwitz.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka called most of the photographs of the beaten people “staged shots,” called for forgiving the security officials, “even if they made a mistake somewhere,” and ordered to close the striking enterprises.
Meanwhile, on 28 August, detentions in Belarus continue, Franak Viacorka reports.
In Minsk, near the Red Church at Independence Square, people traditionally formed the “chain of solidarity.” Police approached them and demanded to disperse. People refused and started singing. Some, including journalists, were later detained.
The majority continued their march through Minsk, joined by other people:
Women who were not arrested at Independence Square marching at Independence Avenue and screaming "Let them out" and "Tribunal"#Belarus #Minsk #BelarusElections #BelarusProtests #BelarusFreedom pic.twitter.com/gAlG0ToXvr
— NowBelarus (@NowBelarus) August 28, 2020
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