As the many youths who were either clubbed, beaten, or detained on Thursday July 15th will attest to, Belarusian cops don’t mess around when they consider a group of 400 lively activists wielding pillows a threat to the integrity of the state. This is exactly what happened in Minsk on a summer morning when the goofy fun was broken up by riot police dispatched by the government to stop any activity that could compromise the clean-cut reputation Belarus likes to uphold.
In an attempt to celebrate the six-hundred year anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald, Belarusians all across the capital came out to the streets of Minsk armed with nothing but a pillow and an enthusiasm for fun and feathers. Riot shields and police batons came crashing into the fray as over fifty participants were detained and brought in for questioning, many of them young adults or even minors.
The battle they were commemorating was one of the largest in the history of Medieval Europe, and marked a decisive victory over the German Crusaders who were considered near-unstoppable. As the years passed, the battle’s results stood to show a small, oppressed nation resisting the German and Russian influences that would go on to sweep over much of Europe.
Perhaps next year will be different. Much like the Great San Francisco Pillow Fight, this activity had the potential to be a bit of fresh air for a country that doesn’t get much of a chance to show its fun side.
[Image: Washington Post]