Collectors of signatures still face obstacles
The Minsk riot policemen and workers of the city department store (HUM) tried to disband a picket whose participants collected signatures for nomination of Andrei Sannikau a presidential candidate.
At about 4.30 p.m. the guards of the department store came up to the picket and demanded the member of Sannikau’s electoral team to move the picket to a few meters away explaining that they planned to mount a vending kiosk there. However, after the volunteers moved over, their place was occupied by a picket for collection of signatures in support of Aliaksandr Lukashenka. In a few minutes the riot policemen came to the store and demanded that members of Sannikau’s team packed up the picket, referring to the fact that the 5-meter area around the department store belonged to a sanitary protection zone.
On 2 October the Baranavichy police dispersed a picket that was held at the central market by the entrepreneur Mikalai Charnavus in order to collect signatures in support of the candidates for presidency Ryhor Kostuseu and Yaraslau Ramanchuk. Mr. Charnavus managed to collect only 8 signatures when he was approached by police officers and was told that collecting signatures was banned there. Mikalai Charnavus objected that according to the decision of the Baranavichy City Council dated 30 September it was forbidden to organize pickets to collect signatures only near the buildings of the local administrations and on the territory of heating, water and electricity enterprises. However, the policemen ignored his explanation and rudely liquidated the picket.
The following day, on 3 October, Mikalai Charnavus managed to resume his work as a collector of signatures. He was joined by Viktar Syrytsa, who collects signatures for two other candidates, Andrei Sannikau and Mikalai Statkevich. The director of the market, Vital Rahmedzhanau, approached them several times and looked at their work, but police didn’t interfere.
On 3 April members of the electoral team of the co-Chairperson of the organizing committee of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Vital Rymasheuski weren’t let in dormitory #3 of Homel Medical University in Savetskaya Street. Janitor Klimiankova, didn’t let them enter the dormitory referring to an oral prohibition of the university administration. The member of the electoral team Sviataslau Shapavalau decided to call the police with the hope that they will help to prevent the violation of the electoral law. The district inspector Kurytsyn came to the hostel, accepted Shapavalau’s complaint application concerning the incident and promised to discriminate in the situation.
It is quite interesting that the electoral team of A.Lukashenka has been collecting signatures in his support on the ground floor of the main building of Homel State University since the beginning of this stage of the electoral campaign.
Members of the electoral team of Ales Mikhalevich started collecting signatures in Polatsk and Navapolatsk. On the very first day of their work some local dwellers claimed that they had already signed in support of a candidate and had been told that they could sign only in support of one person. They stubbornly refused to call the name of the person who told them that. The attempts to explain that electors have the right to sign for as many potential candidates as they like were unsuccessful.
On Sunday, 3 October, members of the electoral teams of Ryhor Kostuseu, Uladzimir Niakliayeu, Yarasalu Ramanchuk and Andrei Sannikau gathered on the square near the town market.
Citizens willingly approached the collectors of signatures, talked with them, asked questions and put signatures. There were no obstacles from the side of the town authorities. However, the democratic activists noticed that collection of signatures was watched by officers of the security services. Alena Miadvedzeva, a member of Uladzimir Niakliayeu’s electoral team, recognized the two people who were standing near the picket participants almost all the time. These two watched her during opposition’s actions.