Prospectives of the "Freedom Day" rally in Vitsebsk are unclear due to "seasonal rise in illnesses"
Leanid Autukhou, the head of Vitsebsk
regional branch of the Belarusian Popular Front, filed an appeal to
Chyhunachny District Executive Committee to hold a rally at Vitsebsk
stadium "Locomotive". The head of the regional branch of
the "For Freedom" movement Khrystafor Zhaliapau proposed to
hold the 25 March rally in the park of 30hoddzia VLKSM
Representative of the democratic forces decided to unite in case at least one of the two events would be authorized. However, there are serious doubts about it. The both parks were determined by the city authorities as places for mass events. Another condition for getting a permission is the conclusion of service agreements with the police, public utilities and medics. This condition is stated in an appropriate ruling of Vitsebsk City Executive Committee. However, no applicants succeeded in implementing it during the last three years, as far as the aforementioned institutions refuse to conclude service agreements with opposition activists under various pretexts.
This time, Vitebsk Region Police Department and the city polyclinic refused to conclude service agreements with the both applicants as well. The medics referred to a high load on the ambulance brigades due to the peak of seasonal illnesses. The police, in their turn, answered they would conclude such agreements only if the district authorities authorized the events.
The latter answer revolted the applicants, as the city authorities oblige them to follow the provisions of their ruling, where it is stated that one must conclude the service agreements before applying for the authorization of an event, whereas the police stated they would act vice-versa.
The head of the regional branch of Belarusian Popular Front Leanid Autukhou filed appeals with the prosecutor's office and Vitsebsk Region Executive Committee concerning the refusal of the medics and the police to conclude the agreements for serving the mass event. The head of the regional "For Freedom" branch Khrystafor Zhaliapau applied to Kastrychnitski District Court of Vitsebsk, asking to oblige the medics to conclude a service agreement with him. He also filed an appeal with the Ministry of Internal Affairs against the refusal of Vitsebsk Region Police Department to conclude a service agreement with him.
Despite the absence of the service agreements, the both activists filed applications for the authorization of their events, attaching the received refusals instead of the required agreements. They consider the refusals as "runarounds" aimed at violating the civil right to freedom of expression.
Leanid Autukhou stated that the event would be held athwart the possible ban on the part of the city administration. Khrystafor Zhaliapau hopes he will have the time to win the trial against the medics and receive a positive answer from the MIA before the rally.