Children Mimic Street Brutality In The Playgrounds Of Belarus


Children Mimic Street Brutality In The Playgrounds Of Belarus

Week after week, protesters in Belarus have taken to the streets, risking arrest, beatings and sometimes torture at the hands of security forces. Now those scenes are being played out not just on the streets but in playgrounds too.

Videos and images of copycat children’s games have emerged, heightening concern about how young people have been affected by the violence.

Belarus has seen unprecedented violence against protesters since they rose up in August to challenge the re-election of Alexander Lukashenko in a presidential vote widely denounced as fraudulent. Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya says she won the election and was forced into exile the next day.

Thousands have been detained. At least four protesters have died. Only this month, artist Roman Bondarenko died after what protesters say was a severe beating by security forces.

‘We have a corpse!’

Videos of children in the playground mimicking police brutality are being shared on social media in Belarus.

In one widely discussed video, one child dressed in black holds a cardboard shield and swipes at another with a stick. A boy shouts in defiance the commonly used protest slogan “Long live Belarus!”

Children split into two. On one side are the riot police – the Omon; on the other are the protesters.

The Omon kids chase and detain the demonstrators – just like police have been doing in cities across Belarus for more than three months.

“The Omon game predominates in our first-year class. The boys run after the girls with sticks,” said one post on social media site Telegram. “Sometimes they even get hit.”

“My wife works in a kindergarten,” said one man on Twitter. “The children play Lukashenko, Tikhanovskaya and the Germans.” Seventy-five years after World War Two, many Belarusian children still play war games with Germans as the enemy.

“Nobody wants to play on Lukashenko’s side,” he points out. “The child picked as Lukashenko walks around and hits others, and the kids hide from him.”

Children Mimic Street Brutality In The Playgrounds Of Belarus


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