Grodno has become one of the centers of protests in Belarus. The authorities made concessions to the demonstrators They are promised to be given time on TV and not to be punished for strikes

Protest action against the results of the presidential elections in Grodno.  August 16, 2020

The authorities of Grodno, the fifth most populous city ​​in Belarus, made concessions to the protesters. On August 18, the Grodno City Executive Committee published on its website a response to the demands of local activists . It follows from it that in the city rallies are now allowed in the central squares; the Council of Public Accord was created from representatives of the authorities and civil society; all 777 people detained at the protest actions were released, and proceedings were started on their complaints; the authorities will not put pressure on the striking employees of Grodno enterprises; the protesters will be given the opportunity to speak on the air of the Grodno Plus channel (its founder  is the executive committee).

The head of the police of the Grodno region Vadim Sinyavsky apologized to those detained and injured during the dispersal of the protests. On August 13, Sinyavsky said at a meeting with protesters from Grodno Khimvolokno: “I am ashamed of the actions of some of our employees. But we had no other choice. We’ll figure it out, I promise you. We are the same people, like everyone else, we are the same Belarusians, like you, by blood. I’m not hitting you. Forgive my staff if they hurt you. ” On August 17, Sinyavsky’s official apology was published on the website of the Internal Affairs Directorate of the Grodno Regional Executive Committee, as demanded by the Grodno activists.

In addition, a court in Grodno terminated administrative cases against four city residents who were accused of participating in the protests. The detainees said that they did not participate in the mass actions, the police witnesses did not appear in court.

Not all of the requirements put forward by the protesters have been met. The list of requirements was formed by August 15. It is  divided into two parts: the requirements that concern Grodno (they have been fulfilled) and the requirements that apply to the whole of Belarus. Among the latter are the resignation of Alexander Lukashenko; resignation and arrest of CEC members for electoral fraud; cancellation of election results; release of political prisoners; refund of fines and cancellation of days detained at protest actions; public apology of security officials. Some of these demands, in particular, the resignation of CEC members, the authorities of Grodno promised to discuss in parliament. They left the key demand – about Lukashenka’s resignation – without comment.

Grodno is one of the most protest cities in Belarus. On August 18 and  17 , from 15 to 20 thousand people took part in the actions there, wrote Tut.by. And on August 16, the day when the most massive protest action in the history of modern Belarus, the 200,000th “March of Freedom” took place in Minsk , about 40,000 people gathered in Grodno , according to Tut.by. The rallies in Grodno are well organized. For example, on the last of them, on August 18, on Lenin Square, there were dry closets, which were provided free of charge by one of the Grodno firms, and there were improvised trash bins. In addition, medical volunteers were on duty at the rally, Lyavon Volsky and the Trubetskoy group spoke.

Rallies are held at Grodno Azot, one of the country’s largest enterprises, and a strike committee is being set up there . On the eve of “Grodno Azot” became one of the first three enterprises, whose employees were promised financial support if they decide to go on strike . Protest activists have pledged to provide workers with money through the Solidarity Fund, a fundraising campaign for those who have lost their jobs for political reasons. The fund raised a million euros in a few days . The employees of “Grodno Azot” were promised to send 100 thousand euros.

Lukashenka said that Polish flags are being flown in Grodno. The media did not write about this. Grodno is a regional center located near the border with Poland and Lithuania. On August 19, Lukashenka, who explains the protests in Belarus by the intervention of Western countries, promised to rebuff everyone “who sharpens checkers today, especially abroad”: “Polish flags are being hoisted in Grodno. It is unacceptable”. The media did not report on white-red Polish flags in Grodno. They wrote that on August 13, a white-red-white flag was briefly raised over the building of the drama theater in Grodno .

(c)MEDUZA 2020

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