Interior Ministry says “No” to Vitsebsk activists
Khrystafor Zhaliapau, head of Vitsebsk regional office of the movement “For Freedom”, received a reply to his complaint filed to the Interior Ministry after facing another ban on holding a mass event imposed by the city’s police department. Meanwhile, according to a decision of the local executive officials, permission to stage a street event can only be obtained with prior agreement of the police.
“The police department says that they will sign the agreement only after we have received permission from the district administration, while the district administration requires an earlier contract from the police. This is the way decision No. 881 “On the order of holding mass events in Vitebsk” is formulated: a contract for maintaining the event comes first, otherwise permission is be out of the question. All these details were reported in my complaint to the Ministry of the Interior. I argue that Vitsebsk police violate the decision of the city executive committee. However, what I get is a response of five sentences: “No, the police did everything right, no violations of the law,” says Khrystafor Zhaliapau.
The activist, along with Mikalai Statkevich’s associate Aliaksei Haurutsikau, earlier sued the city’s polyclinic for refusing to cooperate. The head doctor also refused to enter into a contract with the activists, and Kastrychnitski District Court ruled to confirm the decision as correct, saying that the institutions themselves decide whether they want to enter into contracts for maintaining street events or not.
Thus, the court, and eventually the Interior Ministry indirectly confirmed that the claims of the city executive officials would never be met by the activists, while their right to freedom of expression would remain unrealized.