March for Free Expression

The next phase

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Freedom of Expression: The secular alternative

Attacks on free expression do not just come from the religious fringes, as Orwell understood. Belarus descends into tyranny, from The Times:
Lukashenko, who has ruled his impoverished country of 10m since 1994, issued a decree last year giving himself the power to order troops to fire on unarmed civilians. He looks unlikely to give up without a fight.

In what many saw as a dress rehearsal for today's demonstration, snipers were positioned around the square for the first time last month during a mass gathering of regional politicians loyal to his regime.

The election campaign has been anything but fair. Dozens of opposition leaders and youth activists critical of the president — a mustachioed former prison guard and communist collective farm boss — have been harassed, badly beaten and arrested by police.

At an opposition rally last week on Minsk's outskirts, the two front rows were filled by burly security services men with shaved heads and leather jackets. They were the only ones not to clap the speakers.

To prevent people joining the protests, services to train stations and bus stops around October Square will be suspended from this morning. Tens of thousands of police officers are expected to seal off streets leading to the square.


Blogger Dan said...

Thanks for highlighting this.

I notice that the police are now preventing food and drink from getting to the protesters and apparently are arresting people arriving at nearby bus-stops.



6:26 pm  
Anonymous Phil Hellene said...

From the BBC:

[Lukashenko] warned that anyone joining an opposition protest would be treated as a "terrorist", adding: "We will wring their necks, as one might a duck".

To protest in Belarus clearly requires balls of steel (also because of the sub-zero temperatures in Minsk). Good luck to these brave people!

6:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No-one is going to take this thing seriously until you answer MAC's questions.
What is freedom of speech?
You lot don't even have a coherent definition?
MAC gave you the opportunity to establish one by answering their questions and you blew it.

12:30 am  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

> What is freedom of speech?

Something that you don't understand or value.

> You lot don't even have a
> coherent definition?

It is a concept, not one for me to explain to you. I suggest you go and read about European history to understand the circumstance in which it came about.

> MAC gave you the opportunity to
> establish one by answering their
> questions and you blew it.

The only thing that blows is you.

12:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lukashenko won the election and protestors are allowed to protest outside the Belarus parliament building. Try that in London and you'll get arrested.

11:26 pm  

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