EU Condemns Arrests of Protesters
The Council of the European Union condemns the crackdown on the entrepreneurs’ demonstration, arrests and using force towards the protesters. Christina Gallach, spokeswoman of the EU High Commissioner for Foreign Policy and Security, said it. ‘We condemn arrests and sentences to the people detained. We regard each of them as politically motivated one,’ the spokeswoman said.
C.Gallach pointed the Belarusians have right to express opinions including such ways as peaceful demonstrations. According to her, demands of entrepreneurs are concrete and can be discussed.
The EU expressed hope that the demonstration, scheduled by entrepreneurs for 21 January, would be authorized and be held peacefully. ‘We’ll watch the events’, C.Gallach said.
The EU Commissioner on Foreign Affairs and Neighborhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner condemned the arrests on 10 January of participants of the protest action of entrepreneurs in Minsk. The statement on the EU’s web site says. ‘I am dismayed by reports of the recent series of arrests involving twenty-seven peaceful protesters in Minsk’, B.Ferrero-Waldner said. She characterized the events as ‘politically motivated arrests of members of civil society’.
B.Ferrero-Waldner emphasized the EU requires that ‘Belarus takes serious steps towards democratization and respect for human rights, including the right of people to peacefully express their opinions’.
It should be reminded that 27 people were detained at the rally of individual entrepreneurs held in Minsk on 10 January. The demonstrants were protesting against paragraph 1.1 of the president’s decree 760 of 29 December, 2006, which allows individual entrepreneurs employ only three close relatives. About 3 000 people took part in the demonstration.