Biaroza human rights defenders challenge picket ban
The Biaroza District Executive Committee admitted lack of independence professionalism when on March 20 it gave permission to hold a rally on Freedom Day and three days before the event reversed its decision.
For almost eight months already, local human rights defenders Siarhei Rusetski and Tamara Shchapiotkina and civil society activist Tatsiana Tarasevich have been fighting to force local authorities to sign contracts in order to service the picket. Meanwhile, failure to sign contracts with housing, health care and police departments was the main ground for the ban. And when the activists finally achieved clarity on the contracts issue, the executive committee had to give permission for the rally. But the officials changed their mind and the picket was banned two days later, after they allegedly saw inciting ethnic hatred in the event’s purpose.
Meanwhile, the picket was aimed to mark the 96th anniversary of the independence of the Belarusian People’s Republic, to protest against the deployment of Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine and Belarus, as well as to demand to release political prisoners.
According to the human rights activists, the withdrawal of authorization is illegal, so they decided to go to court.