Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт


Viciebsk authorities ban boycott pickets

Viciebsk members of the Conservative-Christian Party “Belarusan Popular Front” filed applications for 21 pickets. All three district executive committees of Viciebsk banned the actions.

According to the official answers, the reason for the ban is not the topic of the pickets, but the failure of the organizers to attach to their applications the service contracts with the police, medics and street cleaners. This is required by Ruling No. 881 of the Viciebsk City Executive Committee of July 10, 2009. As far as the aforementioned subjects refuse to enter into service contracts with oppositionists, not a single application for holding mass events has been granted for the last six years in Viciebsk.

This time, the situation repeated, except for one district. In the answers from the Pieršamajski and Kastryčnicki districts the officials, as usual, referred to the ruling of the city executive committee, whereas the deputy chairperson of the Čyhunačny District Executive Committee of Viciebsk Natallia Liapioshkina referred to the Law “On Mass Events”. According to her reply, the obligation to attach the service contracts is allegedly demanded by the law. In fact, the law doesn't have such provisions and this obligation is imposed by the aforementioned ruling of the Viciebsk authorities, whereas the rulings that govern the order of appealing for mass events reflect the legislation more precisely: at first the applicant should apply to the local authorities and the service contracts are to be concluded only after receiving the official permission for the event.

In Viciebsk everything is quite different. Therefore, for instance, the police repeatedly answers organizers of mass events that service contracts would be concluded only after the events are permitted by the authorities.

Civil society activists held a campaign to change the order, established by the Viciebsk City Executive Committee in 2009, including appeals to higher authorities and court proceedings, but to no avail.

Therefore, the pickets scheduled for October 5-11 won't take place. The aim of the organizers, stated in the application, was to “inform Viciebsk residents that A. Lukashenka dispersed the legally elected Supreme Council of the Republic of Belarus in 1996 and amended the Constitution of 1994 with the use of manipulations of the public opinion, which allowed to establish a dictatorial regime in the country. We believe that elections are essentially impossible under dictatorship. For this reason, we suggest voters to boycott the pseudo-elections."

"Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections"