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Roman Bondarenko: A man killed for protecting symbol of protests

By Dmitriy Pak , in Belarus Election Integrity Human Rights Police Violence , at November 17, 2020

Flowers and candles left by thoudands in Minsk to mourn the loss of Roman Bondarenko on November 12,2020. PHOTO: Reuters

Roman Bondarenko, the man who was beaten by unknown men in civilian clothes, died from the severe injuries on November 12th. He was 31.

Roman was a painter, who graduated from Belarus State Academy of Art, he was also in the special task forces in unit 3214. Roman lived with his wife on Chervyalov street, the odious street of the Belarussian capital – Minsk, where the «Square of Change» is located. The square has become the symbol of the protests especially due to the mural of two DJs who participated in the protests against President Lukashenko. Despite all the efforts of workers to wipe off the «symbol» it has been repainted more than dozen times. The square has become the center of the local and Minsk’s protestors, and even been the so-called «Symbol of Country resistance to Lukashenko». 

In the evening of November 11th, he came out from his apartment into the country yard  in order to figure out why the unknown men in civilian clothes cut off  white-red-white ribbons – which became the symbol of protestors. He was beaten and taken away in an unknown direction by these men, later on in the early morning of November 12th, he was taken to the hospital in critical condition. His doctors of the emergency hospital shared his diagnosis with journalists: severe closed craniocerebral injury, acute subdural hematomas on the head, cerebral hemorrhage, soft tissue injuries. On the Glasgow Coma Scale, he has a 4B. All day long doctors fought for his life, but the injuries were incompatible with life. In the evening he died. 

The Interior Ministry called the incident a “courtyard conflict” and “confrontation of views”. It is claimed that the police came to the place after the conflict and that they found the severe injured citizen after he had been beaten by unknown men. However, the surveillance cameras clearly recorded unknown men dragging Roman into a minibus and leaving.

After the reports of Roman’s death, hundreds of Minsk residents began to gather on the Square of Change in order to pay tribute to the «killed» citizen and real hero of the nation.

Lukashenko publicly denied all of the allegations against police and the Internal Ministry and ordered the Attorney General to conduct a full investigation into the death of Roman Bondarenko.

Based on the materials:

Roman Bondarenko, beaten by people in civilian clothes in Minsk, died in the intensive care unit [В реанимации умер избитый людьми в штатском в Минске Роман Бондаренко]. Current Time  [Настоящее Время]. (2020). Retrieved 13 November 2020, from https://www.currenttime.tv/a/belarus-roman-bondarenko/30944911.html.

“You go out into the yard, and they kill you.” How Roman Bondarenko died [Выйдешь во двор, а тебя убивают. Как погиб Роман Бондаренко]. Radio Liberty [Радио Свобода]. (2020). Retrieved 13 November 2020, from https://www.svoboda.org/a/30945985.html