Belarus: Reactions to Subway Explosion

A bomb blast inside the Oktyabrskaya station of the Minsk metro on April 11, 2011, has so far left 12 dead and hundreds wounded.

Almost immediately after the attack, the hashtags #minsk and #minskblast collected condolences tweeted to families and friends of those killed or injured in the attack.

The BBC quoted [ru] a few eyewitnesses who said that “around 17:58” on Monday, April 11, 2011,  there was a “loud sound” and Oktyabrskaya – the metro station in the center of Minsk where the city's  two subways lines intersect – filled with smoke.

Minsk subway exit after the explosion. Photo by TwitPic user @mixal_by

Minsk subway exit after the explosion. Photo by TwitPic user @mixal_by

While it is not known if the explosion has occurred inside a metro train or on the platform, the BBC Russian Service [ru] reported that two trains were in the station when the blast happened. They also posted one of the first videos after the explosion. The Belarusian government called the bombing a “terrorist act.”

Minsk correspondent for [ru] reported that police were not allowing journalists to access the area around the metro:

На месте ЧП милиция отбирает фотокамеры и сотовые телефоны у людей, которые пытаются снимать происходящее. «Милиция действует очень жестко.»

At the square, the emergency police are seizing cameras and cell phones from anyone who tries to film what is going on. “The police are being really tough.”

But numerous videos still appeared online. This video uploaded by YouTube user  on April 11 shows the immediate aftermath of the attack (WARNING: disturbing scenes):

This video uploaded by user on the same day shows the rescue operation after the explosion:

Ria Novosti reported [ru] that 157 people were hospitalized, among them 26 heavily injured on the morning of 12 April.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said that he suspected the attack might be connected to the 2008 bombing at an outdoor concert.

A few bloggers agree. Yuri Shevtsov says [ru]:

Я понимаю, и все мы тут понимаем, что мы атакованы серьезной террористической сетью. И что это не внутренний терроризм. Это – внешняя атака.

I understand, and we all understand, that we were attacked by a serious terrorist cell. It is not internal terrorism. It's an outside attack.

While other bloggers, assuming it was an act of terrorism, started speculating [ru]:

Если это терракт, если это не нелепая случайность с перевозкой взрывчатки, то это, имхо, – исламисты.
Наши “родные кавказские” исламисты. Не вижу других вариантов.

If it is a terrorist act, if it isn't an absurd accident during transportation of an explosive, then, in my humble opinion, it is Islamists. Our dear “fellows in the Caucasus” Islamists. I don't see any other option.

Others debated [ru] whether the act had been organized by Lukashenko to weigh down heavily on oppositions parties.

Blogger Shusharin [ru] posted:

КГБ взрывает Беларусь
Никаких других вариантов не видно. В белорусской оппозиции отродясь не было экстремистов.
Это выгодно только одному человеку – Лукашенко. Для того, чтобы начать террор против белорусского народа – уже не против оппозиции.

The KGB [State Security Agency of Belarus – GV] is bombing Belarus.
There is no other visible alternative. Within the Belorussian opposition movement there has never been any extremists. This is only useful to one person – Lukashenko. In order to start a terror against the Belarus people – not even the opposition.

While posts and tweets of condolences streamed over Twitter, one post [ru] said that on April 12, people were gathering to light candles for the dead:

всем не безразличным! завтра в 19.00 возле театра Я.Купалы.цветы и свечи, в знак памяти. Передайте другим. Спасибо.

To everyone, don't be apathetic. Tomorrow at 7 p.m. next to Y. Kupala theatre. Flowers and candles in remembrance. Tell others. Thanks.


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