Moscow, Nov 13 (efe-epa).- Hundreds of Belarusians held a moment of silence and formed human chains on Friday in solidarity with Raman Bandarenka, who died after being beaten by masked members of the security forces
With black ribbons, red and white flags of the political opposition and fingers held in a victory sign, demonstrators gathered in the capital Minsk as well as other cities according to local media in the Eastern European nation, which is in the midst of a political crisis.
Mourners paid tribute to the slain protester at the so-called Square of Change, a courtyard in the capital where Bandarenka, 31, was accosted by the police. The area has become a symbol of the Belarusian opposition movement, which is calling for the removal from power of leader Alexander Lukashenko.
Flowers, candles and photographs of Bandarenka adorned the floor of the courtyard.
Belarusians abroad held vigils in places like Warsaw, Los Angeles and London.
The European Union’s delegation in Belarus joined the vigil and said it was “appalled and deeply saddened by the tragic death” of Bandarenka.
“All law enforcement officers carrying out criminal orders should be accountable for their illegal, arbitrary and outright brutal acts towards peaceful citizens. We will continue to call for a transparent investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators,” it said on Facebook.
Bandarenka lived in one of the buildings around the so-called Square of Change. He allegedly went out to the courtyard on Wednesday when he saw members of the Belarusian security forces come to remove some of the red and white ribbons tied to a fence.
According to eye-witnesses, the police pushed and punched Bandarenka, causing him to hit his head against the ground. The masked police officers then loaded him into a minibus.
He was admitted to hospital an hour and a half later with brain swelling and head trauma, TUT.by media reported.
Surgeons operated on Bandarenka for several hours but he was declared dead by Thursday evening.
Belarus’ investigation committee claimed Bandarenka was “intoxicated with alcohol” but hospital staff dismissed this information.
“Raman has zero alcohol in his blood,” one of the doctors told TUT.by.
The political crisis in Belarus erupted around the 9 August election. Incumbent leader Lukashenko, president since 1994, was declared winner with over 80 % over the vote. The opposition, which had been emboldened by mass public support, said the result was fraudulent. EFE-EPA