Some 30 participants in the July 27 opposition demonstration in Minsk have been arrested and face administrative proceedings that usually result in up to 14 days imprisonment or heavy fines. Those arrested include Popular Front co-chairman Stanislau Husak and Social-Democrat Party chairman Mikalay Statkevich. The two organizations had called the mass demonstration to mark Independence Day.
Parents and students are picketing for the second consecutive week the building of the Minsk Humanistic Lyceum to protest the requisitioning of the building and eviction of the school by the presidential administration. The lyceum is the last surviving secondary school having the Belarusan language as the language of instruction. It and other such schools were founded during the 1990-91 phase of cultural and linguistic revival. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has succeeded in reversing most of that period’s fragile gains.
The Ministry of Culture, meanwhile, has banned the staging of Bertolt Brecht’s classic "The Rise of Arturo Ui Can Still Be Stopped," scheduled to be performed by the Free Stage theater in Minsk. The play’s subject is the rise of a dictator to power in a disoriented and passive society. In banning the play, the authorities appear to agree with their critics that the theme is applicable to present-day Belarus.
The second worldwide congress of the Belarusan diaspora, held on July 26-27 in Minsk with official approval, turned into a severe embarrassment for the president. Lukashenka’s message of greetings, read out to the congress, was shouted down. While U.S. and Canadian Belarusans were boycotting the congress as a protest against Lukashenka, most speakers attacked the president’s internal and foreign policies. Only a group of Belarusan delegates from Russia and several ex-Soviet republics supported Lukashenka. Meeting with that group yesterday, the President accused the Belarusan opposition of "instigating civil war and terrorism" and causing the West to deprive Belarus of economic aid. (Belapan, Russian agencies, July 27-29)
Integration Committee Chairman Dismissed from Kazakhstani Government Post.