“We were crawling on the elbows because of our hands were behind the heads”.

Another Lida citizen about what was happening at the carwash of the local police department.

ida citizen Vladislav Kolyshko was arrested together with his friends on August 11th. Young men were pulled out of the car by the traffic police, when they were heading to garages to fix a suppressor. Vladislav said that they didn’t even honk — they were just passing by a peaceful protest. After it, there were OMON riot police, beating, pouring cold water at the car wash of Lida police department— and a report, that the young man was forced to sign or “they promised to take him back to the carwash”.

— Everything happened on August 11th around 8.50 PM. Two of my friends and I were driving, nobody was honking or screaming, nobody was doing anything illegal. A traffic police car pulled up behind us and turned on its trackers, a paddy wagon blocked the road in front of us. Riot and traffic police officers ran out. They started pulling us out of the car screaming “Get you muzzles down, hands behind your heads!”. We didn’t understand what was happening at all, — Vladislav recalls.

Here’s a video of men’s arrest. TUT.by

Men were loaded to the paddy wagon where they got beaten up. After that, they were brought to the Lida department of internal affairs and afterwards to the car wash premises. At first, men thought it was some kind of a hangar.

— They made a mark with a spray on our clothes — some people got red marks, others got yellow or black ones. As far as I understand, it was a sign who should be beaten and how. Some groups of people also got nicknames. For example, “stonecutters” were those who were allegedly throwing stones, we were the “BMW” as we were pulled out of the car, there was also a group called “rebars”.

Everyone was brutally beaten, their screams “please, stop!” just led to new strikes. They were beating with batons and legs. Then, they said, “Crawl to the corner”. And we were crawling on the elbows because of our hands were behind the heads. When they brought new detainees, they were also beaten.

We were lying facedown on the floor for about two hours. Someone asked to drink, a riot police officer responded: “Oh you, thing, want to drink?”. He turned the water on and started splashing ice water on everyone lying on the floor — it repeated every 25–40 minutes. They were pouring water saying: “So you don’t get cooled off”.

Vladislav says that at some point there was a lot of water on the floor. They had to drink it, as they could not turn around and it was hard to breathe. All this time people were lying facedown on the floor, the police were beating for any movements.

They took everyone’s personal belongings and phones.

— All the time they were asking who had paid us. They forced us to scream “Long Live Belarus”, “Police are with people” and other cheers. All this time they were telling us that we were cruds and wanted to destroy the country.

— How could you think that everything is going to change in this country??Nothing is going to change!

“When we asked to use a bathroom they were always telling us to soil ourselves”, — Vladislav says.

A couple of hours later he was taken to the main police office. They filed a report that he refused to sign in the beginning.

— I didn’t take part in the protest, we were just passing by. But they told me that if I didn’t sign it, they would take me back to the car wash. I signed it. By the way, they pulled all three of us out at the same time, from the same car, but in the reports, there were different times and places of the arrest.

Later, Vladislav was transferred to a temporary containment cell. Eventually, he got a fine of 10 basic units and they let him go.

He already got medical records of the beatings and handed a complaint against Lida policemen to the Investigative Committee.

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Voices from Belarus

Stories of people hoping for a democratic Belarus. Created, translated and moderated by a collective of independent authors.