Tuesday, March 28, 2006

These photos are from a reader who was in Minsk last week. The whole set is also posted on Flickr - here - and you may choose an option there to view the photos in their original size.

"These people were frozen. They had spent the night holding hands, locking arms, swaying, dancing and sometimes singing along softly to Viktor Tsoi cds. The building behind them is where the election commission announced Lukashenko's official victory, and where Lukashenko gave his confrontational press conference on March 20. The sign in the front row says 'Freedom'."

"Milinkevich addresses the tent camp. One of the signs behind him was a little chilling, or funny, depending on your mood when you look at it. He is a brave man."

"This was Kazulin at the gate of the pre-trial detention center in Minsk, where he was meeting with the friends and families of the protesters detained on October Square last Friday. The next day he was arrested himself."

"Family and friends flash victory signs in support of the detained demonstrators as they are moved from the pre-trial center. The detained initially flashed back the victory sign and smiled, but then instantly fell silent as a group, and looked straight ahead, as if their guards had given them a sharp warning."

"One young woman was arrested while standing outside an internet cafe near October Square on Monday, as the tent camp was formed. She was released after three days, and returned on Friday to the prison walls to hand out letters from other detainees she had taken out when released."

"By Thursday night on October Square, the opposition's sense of confidence, and public displays of support for it, was starting to grow. The crowd was larger that night, and more cars honked as they drove past. The police always tried to pull over cars for honking, and in this case, as they got the driver to the curb, people rushed from the sidewalk and crowded around the GAIshnik, shouting him down. The GAIshnik let the driver go. There was a small sense that the opposition's determination was spreading, and that it was able to influence the police. A few hours later the tent camp was smashed."

"A member of the spetsnaz that cleared October Square early Friday. This guy was on the perimeter about 50 yards away, part of a line assigned to keep the foreign journalists at that distance until the demonstrators were loaded onto the trucks. State TV was of course allowed in to film the events among the police. It seemed they held the foreign press away just long enough to plant 'evidence,' including pornography, drugs, syringes and alcohol. The 'evidence' of the demonstrators' debauchery became a prominent part of state news TV coverage."

"The commander of an Interior Ministry Spetsnaz passes a young man they have just trampled and beaten as they rushed and cleared the sidewalks on Independence Avenue. This was a few hours before the worst violence, but during the escalation. Generally, the police were not interested in arresting people in the first hours. They mostly just whacked them and chased them away."


  1. Minsk looks amazingly clean I don't see any rubbish anywhere. It's slightly unnerving in fact -- looks unreal. Excellent commentary, keep it going.

  2. yeah, second pic from top , Alcatraz couldn't be more ominous even if planned. And the colour too, Unlikely odds, nice photo.