Vitsebsk authorities banned three pickets dated to Human Rights Day
Three applications for one-minute pickets were filed to the district executive committees of Vitsebsk by a human rights activist Pavel Levinau, who wanted to hold such events in each of the three districts. However, he received predictable formulaic bans.
This is not the first time when Vitsebsk human rights activist is trying to show the absurdity of the bans on mass events, which are issued by the local authorities with reference to the deficient regulation of Vitsebsk City Executive Committee “On Mass Events in the City of Vitsebsk”.
"According to this decision, I need to attach service contracts with the ambulance, police and public utilities to the application for the picket. These institutions refuse to enter into such contracts anyway, that's why the events are banned. I didn't manage to enter into such agreements with the aforementioned institutions either. Then I decided to file the applications which would demonstrate the absurdity of abidance by the requirements of the executive committee.
Firstly, I intended to hold all three pickets for one minute. What for do I need the services of the police, ambulance and public utilities then? Then, I intended to hold the pickets in the officially designated places, but in unusual time: the first one at 8 a.m., the second in the midday and the third at 9.59 p.m. - one minute before the end of the legally allowed time for the conduct of mass events. The results are the same, as always, three denials,” commented Mr. Levinau.
The human rights points that not a single mass event organized by the democratic forces has been authorized since the adoption of the aforementioned regulation of Vitsebsk City Executive Committee. Pavel Levinau regards it as a systemic violation of the civil rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.
Pavel Levinau developed his own tactics of struggle in this situation: by his applications he drives the situation wit the action bans to absurdity. He hopes that finally the authorities will get embarrassed by looking eccentrics in the people's eyes, prohibiting the human rights activist to go to a department store as it can be considered to be a procession in Vitsebsk. Or, for instance, prohibiting Pavel Levinau and friends gather in a sauna and talk about the healthy lifestyle.
It is not the first time Mr. Levinau applies for one-minute pickets and receives negative replies.