Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт


Carousel floaters assault independent observer and try to seize his laptop

Mikalai Kazlou
Mikalai Kazlou

During the early voting at polling station No. 24 in Minsk the observers saw two carousel floaters and later saw how they were paid for fictitious participation in the elections.

Mikalai Kazlou, an observer of the United Civil Party, went after them. They assaulted him on Bahdanovič Street and tried to seize his laptop. The observer called the police and demands bringing a criminal case on the incident.

Mikalai Kazlou told journalists of RFE/RL what had happened to him at polling station No. 24 on October 10:

“Everything was alright until 12 a.m. People kept coming and voting. Suddenly, I caught the sight of an elderly elector who had a hat that was too large for him and was moving timidly. However, he got registered by the commission, got a ballot and voted. I approached him at the entrance of the polling station and asked to present his document, and also asked the policeman who was keeping duty at the polling station to check them. I wanted to find out whether he really lived on the territory of the precinct and had the right to vote. However, both the policeman and the commissioners refused to check his documents, saying they had no right to do it. The man immediately went away,
but I followed him to the street. On Bahdanovič Street I saw him joining a group of 4-5 elderly people, including a woman. I followed them and saw another woman, who was younger than them, giving money to those who have voted. I started shooting them on video with my laptop, after which two of them burst on me, hit me by my legs and tried to seize my laptop. Then I returned to the polling station and called the police. I want to achieve the instigation of a criminal case against the carousel floaters, both for the assault and the participation in the rigging of the elections. Now I know for sure that they are paid money for that, and suspect that mebers of the PEC are also involved in it,” said Mikalai Kazlou.

As reported by the observer, six carousel floaters had already come to polling station No. 24 on October 6, but didn't manage to vote. “Most probably, they were notified about the presence of independent observers at the polling station, and went away. I shot them on video outdoors – the video is available at the website of the United Civil Party. However, the PEC compiled a report against me, accusing me of creating obstacles to observers,” reported the observer back on October 9.

It's worth reminding that Mikalai Kazlou is a former police lieutenant colonel, activist of the United Civil Party who revealed the ballot stuffing during the early voting in 2008, and was dismissed from the police afterwards.