On March 12, protest actions were planned in three Belarusian regional cities – Babruysk, Orsha and Rahachou. Law enforcement agencies unfolded a large-scale operation to prevent journalists from covering the events.
In Orsha, the police stopped the car of Belsat journalists. An administrative report was drawn up against cameraman Aliaksandr Barasenka. The team drove to a police department with the aim to take a comment from a detained activist Pavel Seviarynets. As a result, the police detained Aliaksandr Barasenka and journalist Katsiaryna Bakhvalava during live stream. Aliaksandr Barasenka was fined 23 basic amounts for his car had been standing in the traffic area.
After the protest action, journalist of the Radio Svaboda Halina Abakunchyk was detained, as well as BelaPAN photographer Andrei Shauliuha and blogger Anastasia Piliuhina. Halina Abakunchyk and Katsiaryna Bakhvalava had administrative reports compiled against them for disobedience to police’s demand. The trial is going to be tomorrow, they will spend the night in the detention facility.
In the Homel region, journalists were detained on their way to Rahachou – journalists of Belsat Yauhen Merkis, Siarhei Kavaliou, Volha Chaychyts and Andrei Kozel. The traffic police stopped two cars and started a long inspection of technical documents.
In Vitebsk journalists Siarhei Rusetski and Uladzimir Luniou were detained by traffic police; they were taken to a police department to check if the car had not been jacked. Later, the police brought their excuses and let them go.
In Brest, the local blogger Siarhei Piatrukhin was detained, communication with him for the moment of the report was lost.
Also, searches and documents’ check-ups were undertaken in Orsha to prevent local activists and journalists from joining the action.
The police searched houses of the activist Kanstantsin Antanashkevich and of the journalist of the Belarusian Radio Racyja Artsiom Sizintsau. At the house of the latter, the police were looking for false paper money.
The chairperson of the city branch of the UCP party Valiantsina Ihnatsenka was forced to stay at home, plain-clothed persons were on guard knocking on her doors since 9 am.
The police car was also on duty near the house of Ihar Kazmerchak, editor of the regional website orsha.eu.
The activist Ihar Hryshanau was detained at a car fuel station and taken to a police department.
Meanwhile, journalist of BelaPAN Adarja Hushtyn and photographer Siarhei Hudzilin were detained for “document check” at the railway station in Orsha. They were set free only at 2 pm, when the action was over.
The same way, the editor of the regional website of Vitebsk Siarzhuk Serabro was detained. Journalists of tut.by Tatsiana and Ihar matveyevy had their documents checked. They were set free 10 minutes before 1 pm, the starting time of the action.
A journalist of Narodnaya Volya had her documents checked in the train on her way to Orsha.