For months he has seen his friends leave Belarus one after another. A few days ago, two others announced their departure to him. “Sorry, but I was offered to work in Poland, so I’m moving”one of them explained on Telegram encrypted messaging. By force, Victor (all names have been changed for security reasons) no longer supports him. “Yeah, that annoys me, explains to World this 21-year-old Belarusian, who lives in Minsk. On the one hand, I understand, but if everyone leaves the country, who is going to do the graffiti, the stickers, help each other? Who will go to the next demonstration to fight for freedom? ”
This student has been fighting for nine months against the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko, whose fraudulent re-election on August 9, 2020, sparked an unprecedented peaceful uprising. Arrested in September after participating in a demonstration, Victor remained in detention for ten days. Two masked men beat him up and tortured him to give him his phone password and thus allow them to get their hands on his network of friends. He passed out. Like hundreds of other demonstrators, he is today accused of “disturbing public order” and “mass riot”, and faces three years in prison. There was no question of trying to leave for all that. “I’m staying, because I don’t want to give my country to these bandits”, he said.
After the hijacking, the shock
For the past few days, anger and depression have been overwhelming him. The coup de grace came on Sunday, May 23, when the regime hijacked an airliner from Athens to Vilnius to arrest journalist Roman Protassevich, former editor of the influential opposition media Nexta. “It made me desperate, says Victor. I do not know what could happen of worse still in this country. ”
In Belarus, this spectacular arrest sowed amazement and weighed down even more opponents of the regime, according to testimonies collected by The world. “I still find it hard to believe that the hijacking of an airliner full of passengers is possible in the heart of Europe”, wonders one of them, who also lives in Minsk. ” It’s a nightmare “, drop another. No one has any illusions about the treatment of the opponent in prison, a “Place of torture” now well known to the demonstrators. Another protestor, Vitold Achourok, 50, died there on Friday, May 21, officially from cardiac arrest.
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