PARTICIPANTS OF ANTI-UNION ACTION PUNISHED WEEK AFTER PUTIN'S VISIT
The week after Putin left the Belarusian capital, the authorities started to prosecute the participants of the anti-Union action, which had been carried out in the center of Minsk. On 24 January Vera Tsitsiankova received an official warning. On 27 January Viachaslaw Siwchyk was put to trial. Young Front member Siarzhuk Matskoyts was also summoned to court. The police use the materials, published by the media, to prove their participation in the action.
The picket, timed to the visit of the President of the Russian Federation, was held on 19 January on Kastrychnitskaya Square in Minsk. The picketers held posters "Hands off Belarus!", "No Unions with Russia!", and "Putin, Apologize to Belarusian People!". They also tore the Russian flag and money bills. In spite of the police presence on the Square, the picketers had no problems with the action. According to the information of the action participants, the police was ordered to let the opposition alone until Putin left the country.
Now the picketers are charged under Art 167 par 2 of the Code of Administrative Offences: organization and participation in an unauthorized street action. In particular, the police brought such charges against Viachaslaw Siwchyk. In the beginning of the trial Siwchyk demanded to be tried in Belarusian language, one of the state languages of Belarus. However, judge Tatsiana Pawlichuk rejected his motion.
Probably, more people will be facing charges for participation in the action on January 19. Young Front deputy chairperson Yawhen Skochka was warned about possible charge by lieutenant colonel Hirel, officer of Minsk City Police Board. The police officer proves Skochka's participation in the action with Skochka's interview, published in The Belaruskaya Delovaya Gazeta.