Entrepreneurs wait for authorities to decide
It’s a day off today at Minsk markets. Entrepreneurs hope the authorities will take certain steps to regulate the conflict soon.
Let us remind the readers, on January 10th and 21st entrepreneurs organized protest actions against the government’s policy towards small business. The entrepreneurs demanded withdrawal of edict # 760, which prohibits them to hire non-family members. The mass actions were dispersed, and several dozen of people were detained.
Several entrepreneurs who were detained and fined for participation in the action on January 21st still stay behind bars today. Some of them were detained on Independence Square on the order of Uladzimir Navumau, Minister of Internal Affairs, who led the riot policemen during the dispersal of the action.
Some of the detained entrepreneurs were fined, including the Sauchuk family, and Viktar Buhayeu, whose winter coat’s sleeve was torn away by Minister Navumau during detention. Entrepreneur from Homel Uladzimir Niapomniashchy, Mensk entrepreneurs Siarhei Shautsou, Viktar Kukrysh, and others are serving the 15-day terms behind bars. More than two dozen of people stay behind bars as of today.
Some action participants suggested going out to the square to protest every Monday.
Anatol Shumchanka, leader of the entrepreneurs’ association Perspektyva, was released on January 25th, after having served a 15-day sentence in jail. He says: “I was at Minsk markets and talked to entrepreneurs. No one knows about the action. Many of the entrepreneurs are analyzing the events that took place. The entrepreneurs are indignant of the actions of the authorities who have not made even a single step forward. They are ready to continue the struggle, but what form will it take in the near future? That could be grass root actions… but the authorities will have to somehow come to agreement with the entrepreneurs and solve the problem.”
Entrepreneur Zhanna Bolsun works at Zhdanovichy market. She also took part in the street actions: “We hope our president will hear us, because we addressed him many times through mass media, we wrote open letters, organized strikes and rallies, at which entrepreneurs asked the president to help them solve the problem. It is impossible to work without employees. Welfare of our families is under threat.”
Entrepreneurs hope that during the week the authorities will propose a way out that would allow them to keep their jobs. They plan to continue street actions and other events if edict # 760 is not cancelled.
All the action participants arrested on January 10th were interrogated by police investigators. When the action was over, the authorities claimed they started a criminal case on the fact of mass riots. At the same time the “riots” did not lead to any material harm, or physical harm to policemen or passers-by.