Salihorsk: People's referendum held under police surveillance
On Thursday, 8 August, the capital of
the Belarusian miners, Salihorsk, was visited by the leaders of the
initiative "Popular Referendum." The oppositionists
discussed with the residents their life problems, but had to do it
under a vigilant surveillance of the police.
During the meeting, the “People's Referendum” was represented by the former presidential candidate from the Belarusian Popular Front, Ryhor Kastusiou, Ales Lahvinets from the movemenent “For Freedom and Ihar Drako from the civil campaign “Tell the Truth”. Their visit also drew the attention of the local police. All their movements were watched by a number of policemen in mufti and a camera man in mufti. They were followed by a blue minivan with the police hile driving in Salihorsk, and during the meeting with the entrepreneurs at the “Kastrychnitski” market one can even see the head of the Salihorsk District Police Department Aliaksandr Astrika.
“Doubtlessly, such attention on the part of the police prevents us from holding the meetings in a calm atmosphere. The people get scared when policeman Zhylinski shoots all words and movements on a video camera,” commented human rights defender Leanid Markhotka, who attended the meeting as an observer.
The policemen also banned the representatives of the “People's Referendum” to collect any signatures and distribute any printed matter, warning that they would be detained for it.
However, the activist managed to hold all scheduled meetings. Apart from the meeting with the Saluhorsk entrepreneurs, they also held negotiations with the administration of the Independent Trade Union of Belarus, paid a visit to the district polyclinic and even to the reception room of the head of the Salihorsk District Executive Committee, where they set out in writing the most urgent of the issues raised during the meetings with the residents.
P.S. Photo by Andrei Tychyna