How not to freeze while on protest in Belarus

How to spend the night in a protest rally and not freeze, or bring food to protestors and not be molested by the police? Ask those Belarussian websites not yet shut down by the authorities.

As hundreds of mostly young people camped out on the main square of Minsk to protest the Sunday election that saw authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko claim victory, many people were afraid to bring out water and food for fear of being arrested, the United Civilian party website said.

"Do not be rude when the police are around, do not provoke them to use force. If food and thermal containers are confiscated, ask the police to protocol it, as it is your personal property. You can record your conversation with them, but warn them beforehand," the website advised.

As for those already out in the square but seeking not to freeze, philosopher Valentin Akudovich shared his own experience in the tent camp on the Khopits (Enough!) website.

According to Akudovich, protesters should cover and line tents with plastic, make sure they have warm blankets, several pairs of socks and drink hot tea, coffee or gravy to keep from freezing.

They should also sleep in a warm hat, preferably a knitted one, with their head to the tent flap so that they could get out quickly in case of attack, Akudovich added.

Protests began as soon as polls closed, with more than 10 000 people gathering on October Square.

Since then, each evening has seen a progressively smaller protest -- 5 000 on Monday, 3 000 to 4 000 on Tuesday -- although the hardcore group spending the whole night outside rose from 300 to 1 000 on Tuesday. - AFP