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May 23 – May 29, 2011

Sentences for anarchists

The situation has not changed
Sentences for anarchists

On 27 May a court sentenced 5 youth activists from the anarchist movement to prison terms ranging from 2 to 8 years. In particular, the defendants were accused of buring the building of the Russian Embassy in Minsk in 2010, as well as staging a series of demonstrations in the capital city in 2009.

Comment

Actions of the authorities follow their own logic. Sentences for the Belarusian Anarchists were tougher than those handed down to the post-elections protestors because they were not part of the formal opposition.

Thereby the rest of the informal Belarusian youth structures, who theoretically could become politically active (for instance, the “White Legion”, the “White Will” or a community of football fans) received an unambiguous signal on the ban on such activities. The mass detention of participants in the annual cycling event in Minsk, “Critical Mass”, which is usually held with the support of the Road Police of the City Executive Committee, also confirms this trend.

However, one should not assume that the authorities designed a plan of suppression of civil and political activity in the country. It is more likely that the authorities react quasi-instinctively to the actions of citizens, and that harsh actions by the law enforcement and judicial system imply weakness rather than strength of the state.

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