Slonim authorities suppress protests by holding their own events
On September 9, Ales Masiuk, member of the Slonim office of the Belarusian Christian Democracy, submitted to the local executive committee a bid asking for permission to stage on September 29 a rally in the town park to protest against the harassment of the Hazeta Slonimskaya independent weekly, as well as to demand free exercise of the right to subscribe to the independent newspaper in the offices of the state-owned subscription system.
On September 25, the activist received a reply signed by the Slonim district executive committee’s chairman Iosif Pauliukevich, saying that the picket could not be held, as the location would be occupied by a “traditional cross-quiz Know your Land” arranged by the pro-government Belarusian Republican Youth Union.
Earlier, local authorities banned a number of other street protests by pro-democratic activists. The bans referred to previous engagements. As a result, as soon as the activists wish to hold a rally, the date appears to be occupied by an event organized by the authorities.