Perpetual protest continues at the border of Lithuania and Belarus

On the Lithuanian border near the Medininkai - Kamenny Log checkpoint, a multi-day tent meeting continues. The Belarusians of Lithuania, who were forced to leave their homeland, are protesting against the repressions organized by the totalitarian regime of Lukashenko.

Similar actions took place in Poland and Ukraine, but for logistic reasons, they were stopped for some time. As for the Lithuanian, Belarusians are determined to continue, especially since this action finds a lively response between the border guards from the Belarusian side and drivers crossing the border. 

We present the stories of three Belarusians who agreed to share their impressions of organizing the action and staying in the tent camp.


Subscriber and later administrator of "A Country to Live in" telegram channel, organizer of the collection of signatures for Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, one of the founders of the Zubr online monitoring platform, ex-lieutenant colonel of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus (stripped of his rank by decree of Lukashenko on May 4).

- Have you achieved the goals that you set at the beginning of the action?

- We planned {to act} until the 14th. We started together with the initiative of Pavel Latushko to support him. Then they thought to extend it until the 16th (Biden-Putin meeting). Then, for some reason, Europe replayed all the scenarios. Finally, they adopted a resolution on June 10, and Pavel Latushko said we had achieved some goals.

The list of sanctions that Europe voted for is quite serious. But these are only resolutions that have not yet been adopted and do not work. And only so far the first point, and the second point, and the main one is the solution to political prisoners' issue.

- Did you really think that with the help of this action and blocking the road, you can achieve the release of political prisoners in Belarus?

- We were sure that they would not also be released, as there were doubts that all the people who support this initiative will be ready to go out on the road. Because here, it is considered a rather serious violation. Quietly, peacefully, but we act gradually. There is a task - it must be done.

There is a need to attract the attention of the [Lithuanian] police officers so that they knock on all the drums and attract the attention of their superiors - that means we need to take some risks. Those who are afraid to go out on the road - let them throw off fines.

- The attitude of the border guards of the police to this action?

- The law enforcement agency itself in Lithuania is incomparable with the uniformed people in Belarus. We did not encounter the military, but we talked to the police and the customs service. They crossed paths with the police in the city. I personally approached and expressed words of gratitude because they protect people and do not engage in murder, arbitrariness.

The same relationship with customs officials. They come up often and ask how you are doing. Last Monday, on their own initiative, they brought three cans of drinking water to us. So they have an attitude - how to help people, how to keep the law because we are in a state governed by the rule of law.

- How did Belarusians in Lithuania generally respond to this action? Did you expect that there would be more people, or, on the contrary, did you think that fewer people would come to the camp?

- There are different people. To condemn someone, for the fact that he is not ready to take any step, neither I, no one else has the right. It is clear that there is some resentment - people are killed, imprisoned in Belarus, but we are safe here and do nothing, or do not enough.

Although I understand everything - everyone came with some background from Belarus. Everyone is in fear. Many people still have "busophobia." Uniformed people are scary. I am not judging, although I wanted more people.

- How many people were at the peak?

- More on weekends - they come from the city. Then there are 60-70 people here, and on weekdays, of course, fewer.

What is the difference between Poland? We do not have a pedestrian crossing. If we leave, then we immediately break the law. In Poland, Belarusians walk along the pedestrian crossing. Such a trick. This is not blocking the road but obstructing the passage.

- Is there fatigue?

- Yes. I am ready mentally but physically tired. In matters of everyday life, everything is fine here. There is a generator. You can plug in a laptop and, for example, work remotely.

But it's hard physically. Sleeping in tents, it is not clear how. Under the clear sky, in the heat. Heavy. I don’t know when we will fold.

There is truth, plus that all sorts of politicians and organizations have ceased to climb here. Everything is left to the mercy of the camp participants themselves. We ourselves coordinate actions with the police and the customs service.

- How do truck drivers react to you?

- One day, when there was an overlap, we stretched the flag, slowed down. Some were understanding. Some were not. There was a verbal skirmish with one person. Moreover, he was driving with Russian plates, but we saw through him because the bumper was painted red and green.

Most people greet us - honking or waving their hands. Then, long-range players come up to us and communicate.

- What do they say?

- Someone is not ready {to block the road}. Someone works, someone has a family. Someone says they are ready to be patient. Different opinions. This is all a slice of society.

- I heard about the existence of local "yabatski." Are they bothering you?

- They are called here "tuteishiya." Yes, they do exist. Yesterday a car was driving on Russian license plates. They shouted at us to go to work, although we all work here.

One resident came to the camp. And at night. He drove up to the fire, tried to unbalance us with the help of abuse.

- And what is the essence of the claims?

- They burn. Some locals drown for the scoop, for Russia. There are enough of everyone. Both quilted jackets and yabats. True, they don't want to leave Lithuania for some reason.


An activist of one of the regional chats. She left Belarus because of the threat to go to prison.

- How long do you plan to participate in the action, and when should it end?

- I would stay here until Sunday. On Monday (June 21), the EU will give its final answer on the sanctions. Until they answer the sanctions, I would still stand. - Can the camp influence the adoption of sanctions? “I hope we’re not here in vain.

- And in principle, at the moment, has the camp fulfilled its function?

- He is in the process of performing this function. What is all this for? So that we are visible so that the situation in Belarus remains on the agenda, and the voices that were stolen from us in Belarus were heard here.

- Is your protest directed primarily at the EU or inside Belarus?

- First of all, on the EU. Because what we do here is not very important to those insides. It will be important for them if we influence the decision of the European Union.

Although they get hot there, of course (truckers told us), especially when our flag was hanging on the balls, it was visible from the other side. They said that the border guards who work in Belarus freak out very much in general.

At least that's how it already works. Well, the very fact of the shares, and the fact that they were in three countries {Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine}, near the border. So we are surrounded by the outside. In Poland, it seems, they stopped in Ukraine.

But it's easier for us - it's half an hour from Vilnius by car to the border. And in same Poland, about three hundred kilometers. And the main diaspora is in Warsaw. And maintaining a camp, which is three hundred kilometers away, is expensive.

- Estimate the number of Lithuanian Belarusians who participated and continue to participate in the action.

- A little bit twofold. On the one hand, I would like more. On the other, nobody has canceled the crown yet. And if there are more than 15 people, you need to split into groups, organizational difficulties begin. But in general, up to a hundred people gathered. It was nice then.

It's a weekday now. Working time. More people come in the evening. I take time off from work, and then I work off this time. Not everyone has this opportunity.


He was detained on the day of the "inauguration," convicted without proof, and then beaten in the Zhodino IVS. After serving “24 hours”, he left Belarus and filed an application with the General Prosecutor's Office of Lithuania to initiate a criminal case on the use of violence and torture in Belarus on the basis of the principle of universal jurisdiction.

- I left for medical reasons. But, unfortunately, it is difficult to get the necessary medical care in Belarus because the doctors are intimidated - very often, they do not even write the correct diagnosis, they are forced to write from my words, for example, where I was injured, and they ask me ten times if I want it to be recorded.

Although, when I went to private medical centers, they began to make real diagnoses.

Here (in Lithuania), I can do what I could not do in Belarus - to bring those who mocked me to a court of universal jurisdiction. So now the investigation is trying to establish the whole chain - who gave the orders to beat, who provided cover.

- What kind of result will satisfy you?

- To make specific people accountable. And there are very long terms. This will be a serious signal. The goal is most likely symbolic. But the main message is for the system to work within the law.

- How long do you think there will be a tent camp on the border with Belarus?

- People themselves will make the decision. Everything happens here. People express their opinion, and then a decision is made.

Personally, I believe that this action had a serious impact on bringing the situation {in Belarus} to the agenda. Moreover, both in Europe and in Belarus itself. All this is being discussed. Journalists from Belarus even call me. There is a resonance.

The current government in Belarus does not make concessions. And it would be naive to expect this.

Although there was a story, Karanik, the so-called head of the Grodno region, came to the border, from the Belarusian side, of course. So I came under some sauce of technical events, but it is possible to understand how everything is happening here. Suddenly we are persuading the border guards to take some action. So I see a lot of progress, and people see it.

The main difficulty today is the technical aspect. The camp has grown so large that it is difficult to maintain its infrastructure. These are tents, sleeping bags, and a generator. A bunch of flags, banners that need to be changed and maintained.

This whole action is a great pressure point. But in my understanding, it should be within the framework of a specific agenda, tied to some event.

- Is it necessary to wind up at the end, as you say, of some event (the adoption of sanctions by the EU or the meeting of Biden and Putin)?

- In principle, it is not necessary to fold. However, it is necessary to transfer pressure points to other places - “Belaruskali,” maybe another border point, something else, some new forms in which people will see real actions.

This is how it is here - the response of people, for example, truck drivers. There is an understanding that this works.

- How many people came here?

- In fact, the camp has developed day after day. There was no time for information preparation. Of course, I want more people. No matter how many of them come. But the question is not that, but that it is possible to attract people. A matter of time and form.

By the way, the camp is not only for the people who are here. This is just an interface. There is also a backend. Someone delivers food. Someone helps people to get there.

- People are not tired?

- I'll put it this way. From an emotional point of view, probably yes. It is difficult - after all, there is communication with other people. Energy transfer. Perhaps there is burnout, but people are trying to develop some formats to support each other.

For example, an exhibition of paintings or reading of poetry. People are fed. Someone tired - he leaves, recharges.

- By the way, how do the Belarusians participating in the activities related to the appearance of their photos in different telegram channels?

- People understood that our protest, our action, was recognized in Belarus by these propagandists. If it didn’t matter, no one would have reacted to it like that. They would close their eyes.

This is an information attack from our side, a message to Belarus, including with the help of truckers, that everything is going on. The beauty of this camp is that there are always new people here who have just learned about this action or have come from afar. Because there is an update, everything is supported.

Plus, we have to give a message that blocking can happen at any time. People are now starting to get imbued with legal issues - and perhaps soon there may be a long-term blockage within the framework of the law. So we decide how to do this according to the law - to coordinate all issues with the services.

Belarusians can directly impact the course of events inside Belarus, even when they are outside the country.
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