Vitsebsk: huge fines for white-red-white flags on Ancestors’ Day
Judge of the Kastrychnitski district Edgar Martyrasian fined Vitsebsk activists Taras Surhan and Siarhei Kavalenka 700 000 rubles (about $255) each.
The oppositionists were fined for marching along Vitsebsk Street with white-red-white flags on 2 November, the day when the Ancestors’ Day, Dziady is celebrated in Belarus. The activists were charged with holding an unsanctioned rally, RFE/RL informs.
Siarhei Kavalenka and Taras Surhan were taken to the court from the remand prison where they had been kept the whole night.
The oppositionists state that they went to the centre of Vitsebsk in order to attract attention of citizens to Dziady.
‘It was a rally in the centre of the city on Dziady, for as many people as possible to learn about the holiday. We went across Svabody Square, cars honked to us and passers-by followed us to make pictures. People liked this,’ Siarhei Kavalenka said.
Police detained participants of the rally when they came near the city hall. A policeman who went out of the car stated that oppositionists hindered passers-by to move. A report was drawn up under Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code. The oppositionists were charged with violation of the order of holding mass events.
Fines for rallies with national flags have become a usual practice in Vitsebsk courts.