Hlybokaye activists bid for Constitution Day picket
The action is organized by the local civil society activists Yaraslau Bernikovich and Zmitser Lupach, who decided to run for the regional and the district council at the current elections.
The activists have applied to the Hlybokaye District Executive Committee to receive a permit for the picket they intend to hold on March 15 to mark the Constitution Day. At the same time, they sent letters to the ambulance, police and public utilities to enter into contracts for serving the mass event.
According to Mr. Lupach, the official permit to hold a picket on the Day of the Constitution would be a proof of respect to the Constitution on the part of the state agencies:
"In many countries, Constitution Day is a public holiday. In our country it is a usual working day, though, for instance, the anniversary of the October Revolution is still celebratedon November 7 with a great pomp... That's why we want to remind our countrymen of the importance of the Constitution as a document that declares the basic civil rights. We want to hold our picket in the place which was determined by the authorities for such events – in the park at the intersection of Lenin, Chyrvonyia Partyzany, Paliavaya and Internatsyianalnaya Streets. We have also sent the letters to the appropriate institutions in order to enter into service contracts.”
Last time Hlybokaye activists applied for a picket of solidarity with political prisoners on November 23, 2013. However, the authorities banned the picket referring to a change of the officially determined place for mass events. Mr. Zmitser took the opinion that his right to hold mass events was violated and decided to defend it in court. However, at the Hlybokaye District Court the activist was told that he failed to implement the regulation of the authorities by having not entered into service contracts with the police, ambulance and public utilities.
In order to prevent failure for this reason this time, the activists decided to file the application for the action and the requests for service contracts long before the time of the event. This strategy was first used in Vitsebsk, by the local socio-political activists Aliaksei Haurutsikau and Khrystafor Zhaliapau, who decided to bid for mass events in two-month advance in order to have the time to appeal refusals to enter into service contracts at court. Despite this, the Vitsebsk activists haven't succeded in holding any mass events, as the authorities keep creating all possible obstacles to any opposition street events, and the courts ignore all violations on the part of the authorities and the state institutions which must enter into paid service contracts with organizers of mass events.