27/7 Tass 195
MINSK, July 27 (Itar-Tass) — Organizers of the so-called silent protests in Belarus have once again changed the form of demonstrating. A next action was scheduled for Wednesday, as usual via the Internet. However, on Wednesday the time and venue of the protest were changed.
Instead of protests in central squares on Wednesday evening, the organizers asked all those who oppose the policy of the Belarussian authorities to get together at 13.00 local time (14.00 Moscow time) at central market places of their cities near some market outlet closed because of the financial and economic crisis that broke out in the country.
Protesters are to stand in silence for 30 minutes as if waiting for a market outlet to open, and then disperse. They are to wear white ribbons and have their fists clenched.
In Minsk that was the huge Komarovsky market, well known in the republic and always crowded. Plainclothed security personnel, additional police and road police patrols as well as several buses with commandoes appeared at the site.
For two months, the organizers of the Internet campaign Revolution Through Social Networks have been spreading appeals to the Belarussian people to get together on Wednesdays and express their protest silently or applauding. These silent actions began in Minsk and then spread to many district and regional centers of the republic.
The Belarussian authorities have reacted inadequately. At first police task force was used to disperse the protesters. Over the recent time, plainclothes people driving vehicles without number plates have been attacking protesters. Under the cover of police, they demonstratively ignore laws, use force, seize people, including people simply passing by, and push them into vehicles. Then the detained people, often battered by these unidentified people, are brought to police stations. All in all, about 2,000 people have been detained during these actions, including about 1,000 in Minsk.
Over half of them have been arrested for a period of up to 15 days, allegedly for obscene words in public places. Only one week ago, a Minsk police spokesman said those groups of unidentified people were law enforcement staffers.