ZHODZINA BELARUSIAN LANGUAGE SOCIETY HELDS PICKET IN SUPPORT OF NATIONAL BELARUSIAN LYCEUM
On August 31 Zhodzina organization of the Belarusian Language Society carried out a picket. The local authorities had given the official permission to hold it in the town center. The picket was to promote the Education Ministry Program “On Expansion of the Sphere of Usage of the Belarusian Language in the Education System” and to support Yakub Kolas National Humanities Lyceum.
About 20 BLS members of different age, as well as members of the regional youth initiatives (Litsviny and Young Front) collected signatures in support of the Resolution, passed at Zhodzina round table. The Resolution called on the Zhodzina authorities to follow the program of the Education Ministry, opposed the liquidation of Yakub Kolas National State Humanities Lyceum in Minsk, and spoke against the processes of russification of audio-visual environment in Zhodzina.
The picket participants held slogans: “Provide for Real Choice of Teaching Language!”, “Belarusian Language – to Zhodzina Schools and Kindergartens!”, “We Demand Execution of the Program of Education Ministry!”, “Stop Persecution of Yakub Kolas Lyceum!”, and “We Demand Equal Status to Both State Languages!”.
The picketers talked to the head of information department of Zhodzina executive committee. Tamara Barodzich, whose responsibility was to observe the picket recommended to use the local press to distribute the information. She recommended The Autazavodzets and The Zhodzinski Vestnik for these purposes. However, she excluded the possibility to use The Zhodzinskiya Naviny (the journal belongs to the executive committee).
During 2 hours the picketers collected 152 signatures in support of the above mentioned Resolution. They handed out about 500 leaflets for parents with information about possibilities to open classes with Belarusian-language teaching and contacts of the organizers.
The authorities did not allow to hold a picket on 1 September. That’s why the leadership of Zhodzina BLS officially refused to hold a picket that day. Instead, they called on their members to take an active part in the Day of Knowledge, organized by the authorities. BLS plans to continue signature collection in support of the Resolution of the Round Table. During the official Day of Knowledge BLS members will collect signatures, spread leaflets, and contact information.