Authorities banned a picket calling for repairs of a bridge in Orsha
The Orsha District Executive Committee didn't answer the request of the activists for authorizing the picket. They just demanded that the lattter ones present a service agreement with the police for guarding the action participants visitors. The answer was dated 27 October and was received by the organizers as late as 30 October, on the day of the event. According to the legislation, the answer must be sent to the applicants not later than 5 days prior to the event. However, the Orsha District Executive Committee ignored this legal norm.
The police department agreed to enter into a service agreement only after being presented the permission of the authorities for the mass event. The answer of the Orsha police was also received on 30 October.
The action was organized by an activist of the organizing committee of the party “Belarusian Christian Democracy” Yauhen Anishchanka and an activist of the movement “For Freedom” Yury Nahorny. Now they are preparing an appeal to the court against the violation of the terms of answering by the executive committee. As for the "vicious circle" between the Orsha authorities and the police, it is quite similar to the one which exists in Vitsebsk. In 2009 the Vitsebsk Regional Executive Committee adopted a ruling according to which the applicants must first presented service contracts with the police, ambulance and street cleaners, and only then apply for the permission to hold their event. However, the police ignore this provision and state they will enter into a service agreement only after seeing the permission for the event. As a result, Vitsebsk and Orsha residents are unable to exercise their legal right to freedom of assemblies and expression.
Orsha citizens unanimously support the need to repair the bridge which has holes in many places and has already started falling apart, as its continuous use presents a danger to the public health and lives.
This issue was raised during an audience of workers of the Flax Factory with the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus and the head of the Vitsebsk Regional Executive Committee Aliaksandr Kosinets. The latter said that the beginning of the construction works was appointed on the first months of 2014 and the local authorities were looking for finances, as the repairs would cost some 340-370 billion rubles. This sum is thrice bigger than the one voiced by the Orsha District Executive Committee, which spoke of 105 bilion.
The heaer of the regional executive committee promised that the necessary funds would be allocated from the regional budget. However, Orsha dwellers have little hope for it, hearing the same promises for the last decade.