By Paul Goble
Despite hopes Alyaksandr Lukashenka would not oppose the commemoration of the centenary of the Belarusian Peoples Republic today, expectations fed by his latest turn away from Moscow and the approval local officials had given for numerous meetings, the Belarusian leader set his police against organizers and demonstrators across the country.
In advance of the various meetings on this anniversary that would have been the first such public manifestations about the BNR in 20 years, the Belarusian government detained organizers and leading opposition figures setting their court dates for tomorrow or later to keep them away from the activities.
Minsk also imposed traffic restrictions to limit the ability of Belarusians to come into the capital or other major cities; and when Belarusians chose to come out for demonstrations or concerts, the police moved in and began mass arrests, disrupting the events but only after the Belarusians had shown their commitment to taking part.
Belarus thus remains the only country which gained its independence the first time during the collapse of the Russian Empire not to commemorate this event officially. Instead, its officials continue to dismiss the formation and brief activities of the BNR in tendentious and inaccurate Soviet terms.
On this still confused situation, see ru.krymr.com/a/video/29122446.html, belaruspartisan.org/politic/419773/, belaruspartisan.org/politic/419742/, ostro.by/politics/stoletie-provozglasheniya-nezavisimosti-belarusi-obedinenie-natsii-i-razdelenie-oppozitsii/ and newsru.com/world/25mar2018/minsk.html).
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