PRESIDENT’S SECURITY SERVICE KEEPS ACCREDITED JOURNALISTS OUT OF PARLIAMENT
December 19 the session of the National Assembly’s Chamber of Representatives started with a scandal vividly demonstrating the attitude of the executive branch to the legislative one, reports RFE/RL. Lukashenka was to come to the parliament session in person to introduce new prime minister Siarhei Sidorski. For the first time reporters permanently accredited by the Parliament, could not enter the parliament building. The President’s office ordered to invalidate accreditation documents, issued by the Chamber of Representatives, for the period of Lukashenka’s presence in the building.
Lukashenka’s security service blocked the access to the building not only for reporters of independent editions, but also reporters of the Belarusian state radio and STV channel, who do not belong to the so-called presidential pool. The security guards were heard receiving instructions via walkie-talkies to "to keep vigilant watch over journalists’ location".
The following journalists could not enter the parliament building: Yury Svirko (U.S. News), Valery Kalinowski (Minsk RFE/RL), Yury Patsiomkin (BelaPAN), Viktar Martsinovich (Belorusskaya Gazeta), Natalia Gryb (Kommersant), Natalia Sharaj (Vecherniy Brest), Siarhei Gryts («Associated Press»), Volha Tarasevich (Obozrevatel).