It is no secret, that the hatred of authorities for the white-red-white protest flag is very strong. So much so that after the elections it has suddenly turned out that it is forbidden to wear white and red coloured clothes in Belarus. For doing so one can be detained, receive a fine and even be jailed for 15 days. This monitoring provides more details on how Belarusians have been repressed for the color of their clothes.
The first case of detention for the color of clothes has happened in Brest. On August 11, security forces broke into the workshop of jewelers Natalya Klimovich and Vladislav Abramovich. One of them noticed a white-red-white dress on Natalia and asked her to follow him. Vladislav was detained after he inquired on what grounds his wife was being detained.
Natalia was released from the pre-trial detention center two days later with charges under Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code. Later, she was handed a court order, stating that during the arrest she participated in an unauthorized action and shouted slogans, as well as that she did not react to the remarks of the police officers.
On October 2, in Gomel, five women, four of whom are teachers, were detained while laying flowers in front of the monument to Irina Paskevich. In the report of the security officials, it was stated that they “laid flowers in political clothes without the permission of the city executive committee at the monument to Suskevich.”
One of the women was fined 1,350 rubles.
On November 1, Inna Zaitseva, known as the white-red-white bride, was detained in Grodno. From September 6, the girl was participating in Sunday actions while wearing a white wedding dress with a red stripe. On November 1, in the same outfit, she went to support the workers of Grodno Azot. For this, Inna was issued 9 protocols and received 5,675 rubles in fines.
On November 23, after a march of pensioners, 70-year-old oncologist Svetlana Yatskova was detained. On the day of her arrest, she was wearing a white fur coat, a red hat with a white pompom, and a red scarf. When the protesters were on Yanka Kupala Street, a minibus drove up to her, and a crowd of security officers jumped out. Her sister Anna and a dog were next to her.
On November 26, the Girl Power Belarus telegram channel published a story of a student Anastasia. The girl was returning home by tram after the pensioners’ march. She was wearing a white and red jacket. Suddenly, security officers entered the tram and pulled her out of the carriage. Details of the incident are unknown.
On December 3, security officials arrived at the apartment of Ivan Ershov, a resident of Mogilev. The reason for the visit was a complaint of a neighbor about the T-shirts hanging on the balcony after washing: two white and one red. A search was carried out in the apartment, laptops were seized and a protocol was drawn up. The militiamen clarified, that Ivan is suspected of committing a crime under Article 23.34. Ivan was not provided with any documents confirming the seizure of the equipment. He was invited for a conversation at the ROVD, but on the agreed day he was told he does not have to come.
On January 20, Lyubov Sarlai was detained in Grodno. She spent a day behind bars (while having 2 and 6 years old children alone at home). She then received a large fine of 580 rubles. The reason was simple – the woman put on trousers with a white-red-white stripe.
“I didn’t shout anything, I was walking from the cafe to my car. My friend and I were detained and taken to the ROVD. I asked the policemen why they had detained me. To which they replied with a question: “So you didn’t want to say anything with your trousers?” – Lyubov recalled.
The woman has been wearing “protest” trousers since 2014, and there have never been any problems. The protocol said that “the color of the pants violates the social and political situation.” The court found the girl guilty under Article 23.34, moreover, a witness from amongst security officers testified that Lyubov was shouting slogans.
On February 5, resident of Hrodna Maria told the story of her detention for wearing a white down jacket and a red hat and mittens. The first time she and her husband were detained at a fair in the center of Grodno. At the end of the walk, people in civilian clothes approached the couple and told them to follow them for identification. A few hours later, the couple was released. The second time, Maria and her friends managed to avoid detention by hiding in a cafe and taking off the white jacket.
On February 15, the trial of the programmer Maxim Nikolsky took place. He was sentenced to 7 days of arrest for hanging white and red clothes on the balcony. The young man asked the judge to give him a fine instead, because in a weeks time he had his wedding, but the judge did not consider this being an obstacle.
The protocol stated that he “held a mass event in order to publicly express his political interests, namely, picketing by placing white-red-white clothing items on the window glass of a rented apartment” .