Belarusians recall the victims of 1937 and demand the release of political prisoners
A memorial procession and rally to mark “Dzydam” – Remembrance Day for ones ancestors took place on Sunday 28 October in Minsk. Between one and a half and two thousand people marched under white, red and white national flags along Independence Avenue honouring the memory of the tens of thousands of Belarusian victims of Stalins repressions in the 1920s and 1930s buried in the Kuropaty Clearing.
Those participating also called for the release of present-day Belarusian political prisoners – Alexander Kozulin, Zmiter Dashkevych, Artur Finkevich, Andrei Klimov and other prisoners of conscience.
The demonstrators marched through Minsk with flags, around 10 wooden crosses which they placed in the Kuropaty Clearing, banners reading “Youth Front”, “1937-2007”, “Communism must be put on trial”, as well as calls to free Dashkevych and Kozulin, and others.
The procession was accompanied by the police and traffic police who videoed those taking part. At one point they tried to force people to use an underground subway despite the number of people and the fact that the subway is very narrow. There were also coaches along the route with OMON [riot police] officers.
The march ended at Kurapaty where people erected their wooden crosses in memory of those who were killed and buried in mass graves there many years ago.
In Kuropaty the Cross of Suffering, carried at Dzyady 18 years ago from the KGB building through the city to Kuropaty, was recently vandalised and only restored a few days ago. These acts of vandalism are frequent and the police do not find the culprits. However Belarusian regularly go there on Saturdays and erect more and more crosses.
For Belarusian society, as well of course as In Ukraine, 2007 is a year of remembrance of the victims of the political repressions of 1937.