The National Congress was initially supposed to take place in one of the city's big premises. But when the authorities failed to find an appropriate venue, Mikola Statkevich decided to stage the event with an impressive title "National Congress" near the monument to poet Yanka Kupala in central Minsk. Several hundred people defied the drizzling rain and came to the park. Stanislau Shushkevich opened the congress.
"I greet you as the people who do not hide their dignity but demonstrate it. hope that the police officers who have gathered here are also against what they were ordred to do here," Shushkevich said.
Few police officers were busy doing their usual for unauthorized actions routine - writing protocols for trials and fines. They did their job quietly and calmly. Mikola Statkevich called on the people not to display their IDs to the police but they could hardly disobey.
After Shushkevich's speech, the floor was taken by Mikola Statkevich who tried to explain the participants and journalists why all of them had to stand under rain today. There were three reasons:
“We have three key issues. First: what is happening with our country? Second: what should be done to prevent it from sliding into abyss. Third: what should pro-democracy forces do to implement the salvation of Belarus. I propose to vote for this agenda. Please make your mandates ready,” Statkevich told those gathered.
The people voted in favor. At least, no one came to the stage to object the proposed agenda.
The leader of independent trade unions Henadz Fiadynich was the next speaker who said the Belarusian people could not be beggers in their own country where workers have to eat meat once in two weeks.
The leader of Solidarity Movement Vyachaslau Siuchyk came next. He congratulated the Ukrainian singer Jamala who yesterday won the Eurovision song contest. He also announced that elections of the chairperson in his movement was coming up and that he would unlikely be re-elected.
“We need to create a force that will be able to resist all other forces," almost recites a poem from under Kupala's feet Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu. Well, he is a poet in the first place. “We need to unite. We have talked about it since long ago but all in vain," says Nyaklyaeu.
The first National Congress 2016 lasted exactly 53 minutes.