Freedom Day procession is authorized, but the use of flags and posters is banned
Minsk City Executive
Committee authorized the meeting and procession in honor of Freedom
Day on 24 March. However, the place of gathering was transferred to
the ground in front of "Kastrychnik" cinema.
The organizers of the processing and meeting Yury Hubarevich ("For Freedom" movement), Uladzimir Ramanouski (United Civil Party) and Aliaksei Yanukevich (Belarusian Popular Front) received the permission of Minsk City Executive Committee to hold the action on 24 March in Minsk. The action organizers intended to gather the people near Botanical Garden, but the authorities transferred the place to the ground in front of "Kastrychnik" cinema and put a ban on the use of historical symbols, flags and banners, as it would allegedly be a trait of another kind of mass event – demonstration.
Yury Hubarevich: "I think that Minsk City Executive Committee couldn't take another decision. It depends on the political situation in Belarus first of all, in particular – the attempts of the Belarusian government to establish contacts with the European countries. The action ban would have looked improper in this respect."
However, Minsk authorities did everything possible to complicate the celebration. First of all, they changed the place of the gathering, which means that we will have to additionally explain the people where to gather. They also prohibited the use of banners and transparencies which has always been a sign of holiday. I think that it will cause a negative reaction on the part of the action participants, and can also serve as a reason for detentions and subsequent administrative trials of organizers and participants of the event.
Aliaksei Yanukevich, in his turn, believes that the decision of Minsk authorities is to be considered positively, and the organizing committee will find a way to decorate the procession in a way which would give no grounds for pretensions:
"I have a positive impression. The allowed place of the gathering – in front of "Kastrychnik" cinema, is in the center, which is convenient. I consider it to be a positive sign. I hope that the authorities won't create obstacles during the event. I think that citizens of Minsk and the whole Belarus have all reasons not to pay any regard to the possible provocations and obstacles. The action will be peaceful and I call everybody to take part in it.
Uladzimir Ramanouski thinks that the executive committee just issued a "verdict". This way of communication can be characterized as a civil war between the authorities and the society.
According to the decision of Minsk City Executive Committee, the procession on the Freedom Day is to take place on Sunday, 24 March. The people will gather on the ground in front of "Kastrychnik" cinema in 73 Nezalezhnast Avenue. The procession will go along the avenue and then – towards Druzhby Narodau Park along Surhanau Street, where a meeting will be held at 2-3 p.m.
The executive committee also warned the action organizers that posters, transparencies, banners and other similar items couldn't be used during the procession, as it was a feature of another kind of mass events – demonstration.