Belarusian ABC Infotour 2013: UK in February-March. Fifteen dates confirmed.
This is a major speaking tour about prisoners in Belarus by a visiting activist – a rare chance to find out about what is going on and to see how you can support them. Scroll down for background info to the infotour and leaflet template. The ‘pro-democracy’ Belarusian news site Charter 97 very recently has reported about one prisoner, “Yauhen Vaskovich, an anarchist and political prisoner, spent more than 150 days in a punishment cell in prison.” http://www.charter97.org/en/news/2013/2/14/65344
Videos online (subtitled): http://avtonom.org/en/freenews/documentaries-about-prosecution-anarchists-belarus-are-now-available-internet-english and info about the videos here too: http://libcom.org/news/new-shortfilms-belarusian-anarchist-political-prisoners-ihar-alinevich-mikalaj-dziadok-mika
Full details to be added for some meetings so come back to this page which will be updated.
1. London (first meeting): Friday 15th February 2013, 7.00pm
The Autonomy Club. Freedom Bookshop. Angel Alley. 84b Whitechapel High Street. London E1 7QX. Nearest Tube Aldgate East.
2. Brighton: Sunday 17th February, 6.00-8.00pm. Cowley Club, London Road, Brighton. http://www.cowleyclub.org.uk
3. London (second meeting): Tuesday 19th February, 8.00pm.
University of London SOAS, Room 116, Main Building, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG. http://www.facebook.com/events/136178079883802/
4. Egham: Thursday 21st February. 6.30pm. Royal Holloway University. Room no. To Be Confirmed.
5. Cardiff: Saturday 23rd February, 6.00pm. The Wells Hotel, 77 Craddock Street, CF11 6EW. http://abccardiff.wordpress.com
6. Leeds: Sunday 24rd February. 4.00 pm (food – optional). Talk starts 5.30pm, until 7.00pm. Wharf Chambers, 23 Wharf St Leeds, West Yorkshire LS2 7EQ. http://www.wharfchambers.org
7. Manchester: Tuesday 26th February, 6.30pm. The Kings Arms, 11 Bloom Street, Salford. http://kingsarmssalford.com/details.php?show_id=738 http://bookfair.org.uk/belarus-anarchist-black-cross-info-tour-hits-manchester/
8. Glasgow: Thursday, 28th February, 7.00pm. Kinning Park Complex, 40 Cornwall Street, Glasgow. http://www.kinningparkcomplex.org/
9. Edinburgh: Saturday 2nd March, 4.00pm. Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh, 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh EH7 5HA. http://autonomous.org.uk
10. Dundee: Sunday 3rd March. 4.00pm-5.00pm. Deaf Hub (near Old Mill), 23 Brown Street, Dundee, DD1 5EF. http://www.facebook.com/events/358132377633319/?ref=22
11. Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Monday 4th March. 7pm at Bar Loco,22 Leazes Park Road, Newcastle. http://www.facebook.com/events/157405374417058/
12. Nottingham: Tuesday 5th March. 7.30pm. The Sumac Centre, 245 Gladstone Street, Forest Fields, Nottingham, NG7 6HX. http://www.veggies.org.uk/event.php?ref=18
13.Oxford: Wednesday 6th March, 7.30pm. Albion Beatnik Bookshop, 34 Walton Street, OX2 6AA Oxford. http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Albion-Beatnik/154855624533606
14. Bristol: Thursday 7th March 2013, 6.30pm. Kebele Community Co-operative, 14 Robertson Road, Easton, Bristol, BS5 6JY. http://www.kebelecoop.org/ http://bristolaf.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/solidarity-with-inprisoned-belarusian-anarchists/
15. London (third meeting): Friday 8th March 2013, 8.00pm. Self-organised London, 88-94 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle, London SE1 6EF. http://occupylondon.org.uk/archives/25289
If you can put on a meeting please contact the infotour at this email address: prisoners [at] afed.org.uk
Background to the infotour
Despite the welcome release of Pavel Syramolatau in September 2012, 5 comrades supported by the Anarchist Black Cross are still in Belarusian jails facing years of incarceration since being convicted of a range of crimes in 2011.
Artsiom Prakapenka was sent down for an attack on the KGB headquarters in Bobruisk, in solidarity with anarchists arrested in 2010. He faces 7 years.
Jauhen Vaskovich faces the same, being convicted of the same crime.
Ihar Alinevich faces 8 years, convicted of attacking the Russian embassy in Minsk in solidarity with Russian anarchists arrested in the high-profile Khimki case. He was also convicted of arson at the Belarusbank and attack on the ‘Shangri La’ casino. He denies all of these charges but was kidnapped by plainclothed cops when in Moscow and extradited to Belarus illegally. He was also sentenced for participation in an anti-militarist demonstration near the headquarters of the General Staff in Minsk.
Aliaksandr Frantskievich was sentenced to 3 years for participation in an attack on the (state controlled) Trade Union Federation building and for computer hacking. Despite having serious health problems (has only one kidney) he is still being held in a pre-trial facility.
Mikalai Dziadok was also found guilty of the attacks on the ‘Shangri La’ and trade union building, and participation in the anti-militarist demo, and was sentenced to 4.5 years after being held illegally. He too denies charges against him.
The criminal damage for which these comrades were sentenced amounts to only a few hundred dollars in each case. They are being in especially harsh conditions, reflective of their noncompliance.
These convictions form part of an ideologically driven repression of anarchists in Belarus. They follow the revitalisation of Belarusian anarchism in the past few years. Unlike in some other ex-Soviet Union countries and other modern dictatorships, anarchists do not form a minor part of a dissident prison population consisting of the usual pro-democracy and anti-corruption activists. They in fact make up just under half of the ‘political’ prisoners in Belarus. This is partly because it is possible to have sentences revoked if you admit your guilt and write to the state asking forgiveness, which the 5 will not do.
The Belarusian ABC has campaigned consistently for them to be released and, in the immediate term, for them to be allowed visits, medication, letters and literature, and raises money for solicitors’ fees and to buy the comrades’ food. Supported by the International of Anarchist Federations (IFA-IAF) they are undertaking a tour of France, Italy, Germany, Spain and UK, to raise awareness and spark further solidarity. The latter have a good chance of success because Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko has expressed a desire for the country to be allowed to join the E.U. There are rumours that this may be considered if human rights in the country are addressed.
The speaker for Belarus ABC will be in the UK mid February- mid March to discuss the situation for activists in the country and to build solidarity for the prisoners. Please consider putting on a meeting. A leaflet template is below.
For more information about the prisoners and the ABC in Belarus: http://abc-belarus.org
- Call for solidarity with imprisoned comrades from Belarus – IAF-IFA – August 2012
- Transnational anarchist solidarity for Belarus prisoners on election weekend 21/22/23 Sept 2012 London-Paris-Rome
- One Belarus comrade released – solidarity works! – 5 to go – September 2012
Solidarity demonstration in London on Belarus national election weekend, September 2012