One-armed man arrested for clapping in Belarus, Lukashenko’s clampdown to retain power goes awry

"In order to evade tough regulations on public rallies, protesters eschew placards and shouted slogans, and merely clap their hands to display their anger at Mr. Lukashenko's policies. Since the weekly flash mob protests began last month, more than 1,700 people have been arrested – 400 this week alone. Most of them were fined heavily or jailed for up to 15 days on police court testimony that they were expressing a political opinion by clapping their hands in public."

In the original series on TV with David Jansen and in the movie with Harrison Ford, a one-armed was felt to be the villain who murdered the wife of Dr Richard Kiley (Y’know, sad thing the true story was based on – the Dr did in fact do the deed, he tried to pin the rap on Lefty)

Well, in the former Soviet Union a one-armed man is once again thought to be a culprit… His crime? Clapping in a Flash Mob protest. Hang on, ever hear of the riddle from Zen Buddhist monks?

Konstantin Kaplin, an unemployed man from the western town of Grodno, says he was convicted this week of applauding in public and fined the equivalent of $200, despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence: He is officially registered as a disabled person and has only one arm.

Mr. Kaplin insists that he was only standing nearby and attempting to photograph demonstrators with his cell phone when plainclothes police grabbed him.

The judge read out the charges, the police affirmed that I was applauding, and the fine was levied,” Kaplin says.

There was no examination of evidence at all, he adds.

The judge looked ashamed of herself, and I sympathize with her. She was probably under orders. But this is a huge sum for me to pay, more than twice my monthly pension, and I’m having to ask all my family and friends to help me raise it,” he says.

It seems the part of the erstwhile-USSR known as Belarus, people who have been jobless for a year or more have been organising protests but dodging crackdowns by clapping or singing, and the arrests have been so desperate to silence the frustrated population that sometimes it’s even more ridiculous than holding an amputee for excessive applause;-

Svetlana Kalinkina, editor of the independent Minsk newspaper Narodnaya Volya, says there have been similar cases amid the masses of detainees being rapidly processed through Belarussian courts.

There was one case where deaf and mute person was accused of shouting antigovernmental slogans,she says.Last week there was yet another case when a teacher was arrested while he was riding a bike and was accused of waving his arms and shouting something in a kind of protest.

Miracles happen in our courts,” she adds.

U.S. science fiction writer Harlan Ellison’s “I have no mouth and I must Scream,” springs to mind, probably more correct to say in this oppressive regime – I have a mouth yet I dare not scream

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