Political activists gather signatures for the abolition of the car duty under a vigilant surveillance of the polie and security services
On 5 June the leader of the United Civil Party Anatol Liabedzka and the co-chairman of the campaign “For Fair Elections” Viktar Karniayenka gathered about 100 signatures for the abolition of the automobile duty and resignation of the government.
The politicians gathered the signatures from 12 a.m. to 1 p.m. on on Yakub Kolas Square and near Kamarouski market. Their actions were watched by an unprecedented number of policemen and officers of security services. At least ten people in mufti constantly accompanied Liabedzka and Karniayenka, some of them constantly shot them on video. Traffic police kept duty on the surrounding streets, and some police vans were parked there. Officers of the security services followed them all the way from their homes to the place of the action (Liabedzka lives in Minsk, Karniayenka – in Fanipal).
"The authorities had a real special operation to monitor the collection of signatures. Perhaps, the people would have put their signatures more eagerly without the police and video cameras. However, even in such conditions some small queues of those who wanted to put their signatures formed. Signatures were put not only by Minskers, but also by residents of other cities of Belarus. It means that the problem affects not only the capital, but also the whole of Belarus," commented Mr. Liabedzka.
He also said that the collection of signatures for the abolition of the duty had been held for the third time. Therefore, several thousand signatures have been collected already.
According to Mr. Karniayenka, at present their goal is not to gather, for instance, one million signatures. "It is, rather a demonstratve and symbolic action seeking to show that people are not afraid to express disagreement with the actions of the authorities", he said.
Let us remind that earlier the politicians intended to hold a car rally along Nezalezhnasts Avenue at 12 a.m. - 1 p.m. on 5 January to express protest against the introduction of the duty on cars. However, However, the action was prohibited by Minsk City Executive Committee. The ban was explained by the fact that A. Liabedzka couldn't apply for a permit for such events due to his prior conviction, and the action couldn't be authorized as the organizers failed to provide the necessary information – the passport data of all participants of the rally. Moreover, the officials stated that the route of the rally would pass near the administrative buildings where mass events is prohibited.
Due to the ban of the rally the politicians decided to organize the collection of signatures .
The decision to introduce in 2014 the admission fee for cars to participate in traffic was passed by Parliament in December and approved by the President . The fee ranges from 3 to 25 basic units (390,000 – 3,250,000 rubles), and ranges from 3 to 10 basic units (390,000 1,300,000 rubles) for passenger cars owned by private individuals. The owners of the cars are to pay the fee on their own before passing the technical inspection.