Belarus: Police officers behind alleged abuses share their version of events

Two Belarusian police officers who were said to be filmed and photographed in what appeared to show their abuse of power against protesters attempted to explain their account of the events on Tuesday. One of the officers was captured in an image with his arms stretched towards a man lying on the ground on August 9. As he said, the man felt sick at a police van and he was trying to help the detainee. “We got him and began to deliver him to an ambulance. He was just unconscious, laid down and laid on the ground. I try to help him to bring him to his senses and right there, about 50 meters away, people are standing and shouting: «Let him go», «Let go, let go.» I say: «I am giving him medical assistance.» And they do not hear, the people just got out of their minds, they shouted: «Let go, let go.» I get up, take my hands away from him, show him, say: «I let him go, and now what?» And he just lies there. They don't know what to say, they don't know how to react. Realising that there is no help from the people, because they shout: «Let him go,» I said to my comrade, «Run for the doctors, bring them here,» claimed the officer. His expressive pose on the photo made it to various memes which became popular online. “It's good that the man survived. It is the most important thing. A meme is a meme, it doesn't matter, the main thing is that we helped him,” said the officer. Another law enforcement officer got involved in a case on August 7. A video showed doctors getting an unconscious man into the ambulance after he was allegedly kicked out from a police van. “Around 9 PM, a group of cyclists began to disrupt public order: they drove onto the roadway, drove through places that were not meant for them — not in pedestrian zones, violating the administrative code. It was decided to detain them for violation of the administrative [code]. After a certain amount of time, about 3-5 minutes, this citizen felt ill in the police van, as he said, his head was spinning, which my fighter reported to me by the radio station and I gave the command to take him out into the street. We didn’t carry him out — he got out by himself. Due to the fact that next to the car there was no shop, no bench where we could put him, we decided to put him on the curb near the road, which immediately caused questions from passers-by if we were beating him,” claimed the officer. Belarus has been swept by anti-government protests following the disputed election on August 9 that saw incumbent president Aleksander Lukashenko re-elected for a sixth term.

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