(Minsk, Belarus) Protest actions in Belarus in connection with the presidential elections have been going on for over a week now. In the opinion of the majority of the society, the elections were fraudulent. People started organizing peaceful marches. Nevertheless, in the first days after the elections, there were sharp clashes between special units of the police and protesters. Several thousand people were detained, several hundred are currently in hospitals with severe injuries, about 80 people have disappeared (it is not known what happened to them or where they are staying).
Last Sunday, Minsk held a rally in support of the incumbent President (65,000 participants according to official media). According to reports of some participants, there were cases of intimidation and coercion to participate in the event. A few hours later, a counter-meeting of opponents of the current regime took place, in which about 200,000 people took part in quite a strong approximation. A video from the place of the demonstration appeared on the Internet afterward – you could already see the garbage tidied up and packed in bags. For me, it was a representation of the spirit of the nation – although the people oppose, manifest, they do it out of concern for the good of the country, their home, and families. Such spontaneous manifestations also took place in many other Belarusian cities. They may not have been as numerous as in the capital, but they were nevertheless a large number of people who can no longer watch indifferently as our country goes towards collapse.
Peaceful protests are also supported by the Catholic Church. Shepherds must be with their sheep. Although there is no clear position of the head of the Orthodox Church, many priests support the protesters. A few days ago, Minsk held a procession to stop the bloodshed, justice, and peace, in which representatives of various Christian denominations took part. Many churches hold prayers and adoration for the intention of the homeland.
At the initiative of the Pastor, last Sunday, a contribution for the victims of violent clashes with the police was carried out in our parish of Our Lady of Loreto in Minsk. The contribution was given to the Red Cross. It is the only organization that has access to these victims. Although our parish is small and young, it wants to make at least such a contribution to help the needy. As the last days show, there are many such people of good will. They help, in the way one can. In this way, they want to contribute to the people’s call for a better future of their beloved homeland.
I greet everyone who reads this account and I ask you for a prayer for Belarus, for a peaceful solution of this conflict between authorities and nation.
O. Victor Bochan C.Ss.R.