Viciebsk officials ban Chernobyl memorial demonstration
An application for the memorial rally was submitted by local members of the Conservative Christian Party Belarusian Popular Front. The demonstration was expected to pass through three districts of the city, therefore it was the city authorities who were supposed to consider the application. As a result, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Committee Dzmitry Sherykau banned the march.
The reason for the ban is a traditional one: lack of service contracts from the utilities, doctors and the police. Under a special decision of the Viciebsk City Executive Committee "On the procedure for organizing and holding mass events", these agreements must be submitted together with applications.
However, it is impossible to negotiate these conditions with the responsible services. According to one of the applicants Yan Dziarzhautsau, Deputy Chief of the department of internal affairs of the Viciebsk Regional Executive Committee Yury Mankou wrote that his office was allegedly not against signing the contract, but only after the City Executive Committee gives permission to hold the march. However, it is known that without a preliminary agreement it is impossible to obtain such a decision...
Head of the Viciebsk city clinic Stanislau Tsitovich replied that ambulances could only service the rally in case there was no other work. However, April 26, according to him, is the day when he expects "a big turnover of the population”. Therefore, Mr. Tsitovich refused to sign the contract.
There is still no response from the public utilities, but this authority usually was the only to agree to sign a contract with the activists, says Yan Dziarzhautsau.
He said that the application for the demonstration stressed the drawbacks of the decision governing public activity, as it is contrary to the law on mass events, which does not mention the necessity of preliminary agreements: “We asked them to follow the law, because, in our opinion, decision No. 881 by the Viciebsk city executive committee does not comply with the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, as it denies the possibility to exercise one’s right to freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly. But in his letter the official stressed that the decision of the executive committee is a normative legal act and must be implemented by all legal and natural persons,” says Yan Dziarzhautsau.