For exactly one year residents of the Belarusian city of Brest are protesting against the construction of a battery factory near the city. The protesters decided to celebrate this event and gathered on January 5 not far from the plant. Some took their children with them to this peaceful event. A child of one of those present built a snowman, and adults helped decorate it. However, the police decided that it was an unauthorized mass event and began the administrative process. The mother of the child who made the snowman will be judged on January 30th.
“Our children made a snowman, we helped decorate. After that, I was called to the police and drew up a protocol under Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code of the Republic of Belarus. The protocol says that there is a leaflet on the middle part of the snowman, and a sticker on the top. I think this is absurd. Now it will be interesting to see how all this will end in court”, – said the woman.
In other words, police officers believe that a small child and a snowman have become the main participants in an unauthorized mass event.
By the way, in social networks this incident caused a public outcry. Many users frankly make fun of the actions of law enforcement.
“This is even better than arresting an armless man who clapped. I hope the snowman was arrested”, – wrote one of the users.
“They condemned to public works - cleaning the territory, gave a broom in their hands”, – another user shows up and reinforces his words with a photo of a snowman.
In addition, journalists are also judged in Brest, who spread information about the actions of opponents of the battery factory. Thus, Alexander Levchuk and Milana Kharitonov were convicted of violating legislation on the mass media on January 25 for cooperation with the Belarusian TV channel.
They were accused of having interviewed residents of the city of Brest on Lenin’s central square on December 2 and 30, 2018, and some time later a video about this appeared on the website of the Belarusian TV channel Belsat.
Levchuk and Kharitonov had already been tried seven times, their total fine amounted to more than $ 6,700.
“4 protocols were drawn up for me and Milana Kharitonov. Each of our appearance on the square is a protocol, then a court and a large fine. Over the past feeding pigeons, we received $ 1,200 fine. The authorities are doing everything so that the media do not cover this topic. But on the contrary, my desire to deal with this topic is growing”, – said Alexander Levchuk.
The local authorities, in turn, refused to allow the residents of the city to hold a local referendum. At this referendum it was planned to consider the issue of building a battery factory. The acting chairman of the executive committee of the Brest region, Viktor Lukashevich, answered the activists that “the construction of a battery plant on the territory of the Brest region is important and crucial for the innovative development of the Republic of Belarus, that is, the state in general, and not a separate region. And it is included in the State Program of Innovative Development of the Republic of Belarus for 2016-2020, approved by the decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus of January 31, 2017 No. 31”.
However, local people do not lose hope. Human rights activist Roman Kislyak has already said that the initiative group on holding a referendum plans to appeal this decision in court.
“The authorities said that the construction of the plant is a matter of national importance. But when public hearings were held, the residents of Brest were not invited to them. When we asked them why, we were told that it was the competence of the executive committee of the Brest region. We see that the authorities interpret legislation in the way they are comfortable. Therefore, we are going to court”, – said Roman Kislyak.
It should be recalled that local residents protest from February 25, 2018. The most active participants of actions and bloggers supporting them are tracked down and arrested.
So why, in a democratic social state, are the authorities not listening to the cries for help of their citizens? And even more, the state is trying to close the mouth of the protesters and the media. Are Belarusians really free as described in the Constitution?
Authored by Belarus Insider
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