Orsha entrepreneurs protest

2008 2008-08-04T20:43:13+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

About 400 persons gathered near the building of the city executive committee in Orsha before arrival of high officials from Minsk.

Local entrepreneurs have gathered to voice their protest and at the same time to express solidarity with their fellow businessman who turned into a beggar overnight. Goods for a sum of 15 million of Belarusian rubles were confiscated from him, and a fine of 15 million rubles was imposed on him, Bulletinonline informs.

There hasn’t been an occasion before when so many people gathered near the city executive committee. Small businessmen answered to the question why so many people had gathered to protest:

‘The reason for that is today he is a victim, and tomorrow it can be any of us. It looks like people have accepted all possible concessions to the authorities. They agreed to transfer 50 000 Belarusian rubles each in July and the same sum on 4 August 4 2008 for the Dazhynki festival. Multiply that by 5 000 businessmen…

But later a representative of the executive committee stated that there are difficulties in entering the sum in the books. That is why they probably decided to collect that as a fine. And that was tried on several entrepreneurs. The people who gathered demanded justice. Meanwhile authorities invited them to enter the office for a conversation, as if 400 persons could be placed in one office.

‘We are not peasants cap in hand who have arrived to Lenin. We do not need boiled water without sugar… Give us back what has been stolen from us,’ businessmen demanded.

In response the authorities promised to stop inspections for 10 days. At the same time the city is getting ready for the visit of Prime Minister of Belarus, Siarhei Sidorski. Street lights were switched off because of that. There were traffic jams in the streets. Traffic policemen in green vests were standing at each street crossing, which is strange, as the city does not have so many traffic policemen. It’s a usual occasion for Belarus. Somebody from the crowd said: ‘It looks like if they welcomed Hugo Chavez’.