Freedom Day pickets banned in Hrodna
Vadzim Saranchukou, Chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front’s Hrodna branch, has received from the local executive committee two bans on holding pickets dedicated to Freedom Day. Both bans were signed by the deputy chairman of the executive committee Zoya Kulesh.
The first picket scheduled for March 22 was not allow with reference to the applicant’s failure to meet legal requirements, in particular providing information complete information about the mass event. The other picket, which was to be staged on March 25, was not allowed on the grounds that a decision of the executive committee allegedly prohibits holding public events in Zhyliber Park, where the event was expected to take place. However, pro-government organizations regularly conduct a wide variety of public events in this location, including political ones.
Over the past 12 years, Hrodna opposition activists have not received a single permission to hold public events. All attempts by human rights defenders and civil society activists to appeal against the bans in court have had no positive outcome.