Babruisk: Picketing location busy for indefinite period
Members of the UCP’s Babruisk office petitioned the city authorities asking for permission to hold between 20 and 24 November a series of pickets against the deployment of a Russian military base. The activists believe that the appearance of the base is contrary to Article 18 of the Constitution.
“In order to pay for the costs of the mass action we will use the proceeds from donations of members and supporters of the United Civil Party, social activists... Due to the fact that the rally will held in order to protect the constitutional order of the Republic of Belarus, we ask the city executive committee to instruct the relevant services to ensure public order and safety, the organization of medical care during the mass event, a clean-up after the meeting,” said the applications. The venue was a stadium of the Slavianka factory, the only place in Babruisk, which was authorized by the executive committee for holding pickets.
“Bids for picketing were sent not only by members of the UCP, but by other social activists of Babruisk,” says Halina Smirnova, chairman of the local branch of the REP independent trade union. “Answers have already started coming. Naturally, the officials found a reason to refuse the events. Deputy Mayor Aliaksandr Markachou wrote that exactly on these days there would be a youth football cup at the stadium. Then the activists started applying for other dates: November 30 to December 4.”
Halina Smirnova decided to go to the stadium to see if the football tournament really took place. But there was no competition there.
“I live near the stadium, and during a walk with the dog I went to the stadium. But instead of football, I saw a note on the door saying that the tournament, which was scheduled for the period from 20 to 24 November, due to weather conditions was put off till November 30 to December 4. That is precisely the dates that we mentioned in our bids,” says Halina Smirnova.
The activist believes that officials can invent events for any date.