Reports on political demonstrations in Grodno (Hrodna) (1999-2000) [BYS39044.E]

The following reports of demonstrations in Grodno (Hrodna) are further to those contained in the US Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1999 (23 Feb. 2000) and 2000 (23 Feb. 2001).

An Associated Press article reported that on 24 November 1999 some 1000 people held a protest in Grodno in opposition to president Lukashenko's arrest of opposition members and planned partial union with Russia (24 Nov. 1999).

A press release by Viasna Human Rights Center reported on the trial of Siarhei Malchyk, chairman of the Grodno branch of Viasna, who organized an "unauthorized procession" to commemorate the Day of Freedom on 25 March 2000 (Apr. 2000). Malchyk was sentenced to 10 days' administrative arrest (ibid.). Amnesty International also reported on this demonstration, stating that a Sergey Malchik, described as the "leader of the Belarusian Popular Front in Grodno," was sentenced to 10 days' administrative arrest for his role in organizing this demonstration (21 June 2000).

The Belarusian Popular Front staged two street demonstrations in Gordno on 27 July 2000 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Belarus' State Sovereignty (BelaPAN 28 July 2000). Local activists of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party and the Belarusian Social Democratic Hramada reportedly also participated in the demonstrations (ibid.).

Some 500 opposition activists took part in an unauthorized march in Grodno on 8 October 2000 (Philadelphia Inquirer 9 Oct. 2000). Police escorted the demonstrators, who chanted the slogan "Milosevic today, Lukashenko tomorrow" and waved the "banned red and white nationalist flag" of Belarus, but did not intervene (ibid.).

On 12 November 2000, "peaceful but unsanctioned pro-democracy demonstrations" were held in Grodno and other towns, during which some 100 "young protestors" were arrested (AI 8 Aug. 2001). Amnesty International reported that "a number of the demonstrators," some of whom were reportedly minors, were beaten by police as they were put onto police buses (ibid.).

Four students were reported to have been detained in Grodno for taking part in International Human Rights Day demonstrations that were held around the country on 10 December 2000 (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Amnesty International (AI). 8 August 2001. (AI Index: EUR 49/005/2001) "In the Spotlight of the State: Human Rights Defenders in Belarus.",grodno [Accessed 21 May 2002]

_____. 21 June 2000. (AI Index: EUR 49/014/2000) "Belarus: Dissent and Impunity.",grodno [Accessed 21 May 2002]

Associated Press (AP). 24 November 1999. No title. (NEXIS)

BelaPAN [Minsk]. 28 July 2000. No. 107. "White-Red-White Flags Spotted in Hrodna (Grodno) on 10th Anniversary of Sovereignty Declaration." (Hosted by A Belarus Miscellany) [Accessed 21 May 2002]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000. 23 February 2001. US Department of State. Washington, DC. [Accessed 21 May 2002]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1999. 23 February 2000. US Department of State. Washington, DC. [Accessed 21 May 2002]

The Philadelphia Inquirer. 9 October 2000. Larisa Sayenko. "In Belarus, Yugoslavia's Upheaval Energizes the Opposition." (NEXIS)

Viasna Human Rights Center. April 2000. "Chairman of Hrodna Branch of "Viasna" Siarhei Malchyk Was Imprisoned and Went on a Hunger-Strike." [Accessed 22 May 2002]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases



Internet sites including:

Belarusian Helsinki Committee

Freedom House

Human Rights Watch

International League for Human Rights Belarus Project

Internews Belarus

Prima News Agency

Radio Racyja