Three student activists from Belarus Free Theatre’s Studio Fortinbras school, along with Belapan journalist Andrew Shavlygo, were arrested in Minsk on 28 June after the staging of an artistic stunt as part of a new campaign by the theatre in support of LGBTQ+ rights. The students placed rainbow-coloured flower pots at the foot of a statue of a policeman outside the Ministry of Interior to call out homophobia following an official statement by the ministry that claimed “same-sex relationships are fake”.
Those arrested were held overnight without being told why but upon release were fined for “disobeying police”.
“Index on Censorship urges the authorities in Belarus to release the students immediately and safeguard freedom of expression, including the right to protest,” Joy Hyvarinen, head of advocacy at Index, said.
Activists from the Belarus Free Theatre told RFE/RL’s Belarus Service: “We call on police officers to overcome their prejudice and begin to protect the rights of law-abiding LGBT people, who as taxpayers are funding the ministry,” activists from the Belarus Free Theatre told RFE/RL’s Belarus Service.