Jailed musician and activist Igor Bancer (Ihar Bantsar) is on dry hunger strike. Igor is refusing to drink water or eat. Today is his ninth day. The authorities continue to keep Igor in jail and refuse to transfer him to a hospital.
Igor is preparing for his court hearing which is scheduled for March 12 (tomorrow) in the Lenin District Court in Grodno. He faces up to three years in prison and has already been in custody since the 20th of October 2020. The long standing antifascist activist and lead singer of the Belarusian Oi/punk band Mister X was arrested along with thousands of others during the protests in Minsk and across Belarus.
The prosecutors case is that Igor has allegedly demonstrated his genitals to a police officer during a short dance in front of police car. Igor's position: it was a dance performance, during which he did take off his shorts, but was wearing underwear. He also was wearing a waist bag. The police officer, who saw Igor's dance, has no complaints against Igor. In his testimony he noted that initially he regarded Igor's act as a drunken prank, not a criminal offense.
Last year Igor Bancer was detained three times for participating in protests, he spent 18 days in jail for administrative cases. He is 41 years old, married with three small children. The family conveys their support to Igor through a lawyer, thought they are no longer trying to dissuade him. "It's impossible, because he is resolute," Igor's wife has told RFERL.
Igor remains in jail and has not been transferred to a hospital. He is being monitored, his blood pressure is being measured in jail. On average, a man's body requires 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids intake per day, according to The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Potential consequences of untreated dehydration include seizures, severe kidney and other organ failures. According to one study, most elderly persons (85%) - who have voluntarily chosen to hasten death by refusing food and fluids - died within 15 days. In general, another study suggests, survival time at dry hunger strikes may vary from 8 to 21 days. ■
RFERL (translated by Denis Kazakiewicz, edited by Organise!)
If Igor survives, the address to write letters:
Bancer Igor Romanovichul. Kirova 1, Turma-1, Grodno 230023 Belarus
Игорь Банцер, Кирова 1, Гродно, 230023 Belarus.
(Subject to change double check with Belarus ABC)
Original report [in Belarusian] on Svoaboda
Studies of survival time of dry hunger strikes:
The following statement was produced at the online delegate meeting of the Relations Commitee of the International of Anarchist Federations (CRIFA) on 24-25 October 2020, and subsequently translated. Scroll down for Italian, Spanish and Portuguese translations or visit the websites of the respective federations.
BELARUS: AGAINST CAPITALISM AND DICTATORSHIP, FOR INTERNATIONALIST SOLIDARITY
The Commission of Relations of the International of Anarchist Federations (CRIFA) expresses its support and internationalist solidarity with the struggles of people in Belarus against Alexander Lukashenko’s dictatorship, a mass movement that is participated in by our anarchist comrades there. The situation in Belarus concerns the autocratic dictatorship that has lasted for 26 years, the current economic, health and public services crises. A wave of protests have filled the squares of the country to request the dictator’s withdrawal.
As anarchists, we are not empassioned by the debate on whether the last presidential elections were fair or not. It is simply clear that the people in Belarus are saying ‘enough is enough’: they do no longer want a government which is starving, beating and oppressing them.
We stand in solidarity with Belarusian political prisoners and demand their immediate release. We also demand the reinstatement of all workers who have lost their jobs for participating in strikes or protests, and urge an immediate end to the repression. We denounce the violence and abuses of the political policies that are in place, and the regime’s
military or paramilitary forces, who are arbitrarily detaining, beating and torturing its political opponents. We demand the fall of an authoritarian power which is a sad remainder of the totalitarianism of the former Soviet Union, one which still serves as a weapon for the military strategy of Putin’s Russia which which uses its neighbouring country as a military foothold.
However, in the same way as we oppose Russian militarism in Belarus, we also oppose the militarism of Atlantic (NATO) forces in the Baltic Republics, together with all the armies and all the wars that are made by states against the people. Likewise, we do not buy the current rhetoric of Western ‘freedom’, nor of a possible mediation role of the European Union. The only role that the EU has is to manage the interests of European capitalism and therefore, as internationalists, we are opposed to this institution.
Instead, we call for international solidary between all workers and oppressed people and for all social movements which are committed, in the East and in the West, to syndicalism and workers rights, to the right of housing, to feminist and LGBTQ mobilisations, to the defence of land and environments against speculators, to people’s solidarity and mutual aid, to the occupation of spaces, to the production of alternative cultures, and to the defence of civil society all freedoms against exploitation and authoritarianism – to quote only some of our preferred axes of social intervention.
Only the direct participation of people in struggles from below can make a difference and produce a movement that go beyond the substitution of an old government with a new one, more or less corrupt, more or less authoritarian. Among all other challenges that humanity is facing, the current pandemic has confirmed that state and capitalism do not work when it comes to the need for solidarity. It is the entire society that must change towards equality and freedom, and anarchism is more than ever the option that we put forward to achieve this.■
The Commission of Relations of the INTERNATIONAL OF ANARCHIST FEDERATIONS (IAF/IFA) – 25 October 2020
Originally hosted with Italian / Spanish / Portuguese translations here.
The Italian version is also available to listen to on YouTube:
For the past five days I have watched batons smashing into the faces of the working class. I've watched people be shot and trucks plough into yet more without any sense or reason other than the sick poison that oozes in the hearts of the police.
I've watched children get smacked around and listened to women talk about the police beating and sexually assaulting them in the backs of vans and while locked in cells. I've seen hours of footage both broadcast publicly and shared through private channels that has sickened me. I've spoken to comrades both local and in the diaspora who've kindly taken the time to share their concerns and report on events.
I'm listening to Belarus cry out in the birth pains of a revolution and watching the death throws of a totalitarian regime. They tried to squish the revolutionary movement before it had began, they failed. The moment the factories stepped out and long muted resistance sprang up across the country the future of Lukashenko was sealed. The future of Belarus is being written now on the streets and at the factory gates.
This began last Sunday (9th of August) Belarus was put through an election rife with fraud, by the end of the day 50,000 people from all walks of life had descended onto the streets of Minsk. The police response was brutal with some 3000 arrested, hundreds injured and at least three protestors lost their life. The next day there were hundreds of thousands on the streets of at least twenty cities. Factory workers went on strike and Anarchist affinity groups erected barricades. The aims are clear to all. Lukashenko must be removed.
In over 20 cities huge numbers of working class people are fighting for their future, to find liberty from underneath the boot of Lukashenko. Like any popular movement they come from all walks of life and across the spectrum of politics, from the anarchist affinity groups that have existed underground for years to the all manner of nationalists, neo-liberals and progressives. They are not united by the politics they desire but by the politics of those they need to break free from. As comrade put it;
“For sure, there are people in the demonstrations with a wide range of different political views. Most of them don’t define themselves politically at all. When miners go on strike because they don’t agree with the corrupt state government and the exploitation that their bosses are engaged in, do we try to determine their exact political identity as communists, anarchists, or liberals? Trying to define this huge crowd of hundreds of thousands of people who have suffered through humiliation, exploitation, and oppression for the last quarter of a century seems ridiculous to me. For me, there’s one obvious fascist: Lukashenko”
It is vital that we listen to our Belarusian kin, and amplify their voices. The working class have no borders between us, no nations to tear us a part. We feel the pain of injustice wherever it occurs, whether that is Brest or Bolton. There can be no question in our minds that the working class of all lands must know that they do not stand alone.
Speak up and share your solidarity.
Belarus, you do not stand alone. ■
Peter Ó Máille
Editor of Organise!
Read about the situation:
Belarus: Anarchists in the Uprising against the Dictatorship
Call for solidarity actions with the uprising against the Lukashenko regime – 14 August
Belarus: ‘without organisation, without struggle, the oppressive unfreedom will never disappear’
Websites to follow:
www.pramen.io - Anarchist Media Collective
www.abc-belarus.org - Anarchist Black Cross Belarus