Another trial for banned picket to take place in Vitsebsk on 9 October
coordinator of the Movement “For Freedom” Khrystafor Zhaliaoau
and a representative of the organizing committee of the party
“Narodmaya Hramada”, Aliaksei Haurutsikau, filed an appeal
against the ban of the picket they intended to hold on 8 September.
They also intend to receive the permission to hold their action at
The picket was to have been of informational nature: the activists were going to express their protest against the deployment of the Russian military bases on the territory of Belarus. The site was chosen in accordance with the rulings of the district executive committees of Vitsebsk – Park of Culture named after the 30th anniversary of the Komsomol. However, the action was prohibited on the basis of Ruling № 881 of the Vitsebsk City Executive Committee "On Mass Events in Vitebsk", according to which the application shall be accompanied by service contracts with the police, medics and street cleaners.
The decision of the city authorities provides this very sequence: first the applicants must enter into service agreements with these agencies, and only after this they can receive a permission to hold their event. However, the police department of the Vitsebsk Regional Executive Committee answered that the service agreement would not be concluded with them as far as the event wasn't authorized by the Pershamaiski District Police Executive Committee of Vitsebsk. It is unclear where from the police took the information that hte action wasn't authorized before entering into the service agreement is still unclear. This is what the court is supposed to find: why the order, prescribed by Ruling No. 881, was violated.
Not only the police officers, but also representatives of the Vitsebsk City Central Polyclinic No. 1 are summoned to the court on 9 October to explain why they refused to enter into a service agreement with the activists. The official reason for the denial was " in connection with the work of ambulance crews on 8 September 2013 in emergency mode".
Earlier, the medics refused to send their cars to the opposition pickets “due to seasonal diseases" and other similar reasons. Such attitude of the state agencies, has prevented opposition activists from holding their events for more than three years already. Only “Zelengas” enterprise (responsible for cleaning the streets) agrees to enter into service agreements with the opposition. The police and the medics keep giving denials, which results in the prohibition of the events by the authorities.
On 9 October A. Haurutsikau and Kh. Zhaliapau hope to prove that the denial of the district administration is unfair and is a baasis for the violation of the rights of citizens to hold mass events, guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and Articles 2, 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The activists say that the legislation on mass events is violated in Vitsebsk, as far as the aforementioned ruling of the Vitsebsk City Executive Committee contradicts it, and Vitsebsk citizens cannot exercise their legal rights.
It should be noted that it is not the first attempt to get an opportunity to hold a mass event in Vitsebsk through court. Aliaksei Haurutsikau, Khrystafor Zhaliapau and other activists have already tried to sue the district administrations and the responsible authorities, but to no avail: the right to hold mass events and express one's views in public is still ignored in Vitsebsk.