Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт


Officials in Salihorsk and Niasviž districts send campaigners to ‘ghettos’

The executive authorities of Salihorsk and Niasviž districts have banned the collection of signatures for future potential presidential candidates in most crowded places.

In Salihorsk district, campaigning pickets are banned at the distance of 50 meters from the buildings of representative and executive bodies, courts, prosecutor's offices, hospitals, clinics, kindergartens, schools, and organizations in charge of national security. Collecting signatures is also prohibited at train stops, bus stops, near intersections and pedestrian crossings. It is difficult to understand what legal standards guided local officials, but the collection of signatures is prohibited even near monuments of history and culture, and within 50 meters of military graves. The list also includes churches. The large-scale restrictions will cause particular obstacles to the residents of the district center. Salihorsk is the most densely populated city in the country with a small area, and therefore activists will have to make serious efforts to find venues for pickets.

A similar ban on the collection of signatures in most crowded places has been announced by the Niasviž district executive committee. The fifty-meter "exclusion zone" includes buildings of the executive committee, the District Council of Deputies, the court, prosecutor's office, the District Department of Internal Affairs, territories of organizations providing for national security and even the livelihoods of the population. Picketing is forbidden outside organizations of public transport, water and power supply companies, pre-school and secondary education. Institutions of healthcare will have a 100-meter isolation zone for collecting signatures.

“Human Rights Defenders For Free Elections”