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16 November 2021, 15:08

Belarus to investigate violent actions of Polish troops against refugees

MINSK, 16 November (BelTA) – The Belarusian side is initiating an investigation into today's incident at the Belarusian-Polish border, BelTA learned from Anton Bychkovsky, spokesman of the State Border Committee of Belarus.

According to the source, the situation near the temporary refugee camp at the Belarusian border checkpoint Bruzgi got aggravated by midday on 16 November. Some of the refugees were driven into desperation by the unbearable conditions that the men and their families had to endure for the previous 24 hours and staged an attempt to break into Poland. They rushed towards the fence and started demolishing it. The fence was located in the Polish territory, this is why Belarusian border service personnel had no legal right to approach it. In order to drive away the migrants, the Polish side employed tear gas. The gas infuriated the refugees, who started chucking stones, sticks, and anything else they could get their hands on at the Polish law enforcement personnel. In response the Polish troops employed water cannons and flash bangs against the unarmed refugees. Icy water and tear gas hit everyone, who was close to the border, including women and children. Wearing wet clothes in November in nearly freezing weather is a real threat to the lives of the already freezing and tired people.

Reporters, who cover the situation at the border from the Belarusian territory, also felt the Polish pushback. Polish law enforcement personnel opted not to notice the noticeable gear the reporters were wearing and hit them with eye-tearing liquid, the State Border Committee of Belarus added.

Situation at Belarusian-Polish border somewhat stabilizedSituation at Belarusian-Polish border somewhat stabilized
Despite the certain stabilization of the border situation Polish law enforcement personnel periodically use water cannons against refugees at the border checkpoint and the nearby area. The refugees are trying to distance themselves, cover kids, and dry their clothes.

The fact that Polish law enforcement personnel have used special gear and ammunition against unarmed people has been recorded by the Belarusian side. “We see it as violent actions against persons, who are in the territory of another country. The Belarusian side is initiating an investigation into this incident,” Anton Bychkovsky said.

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