Monitoring report on the picket on August 4, dedicated to political prisoners and disappeared politicians
August 4, 2015 in Minsk a picket dedicated to the issue of political prisoners and missing politicians, organized by the United Civil Party, was held on Niezaliežnasć Avenue in Minsk, near the monument to Felix Dzerzhinsky.
Prior to the picket, invitations to the picket were distributed through the internet. No applications to the authorities were filed to obtain an official permit for the picket.
At 1.40 – 2.30 p.m., an observer of human rights organizations, wearing an appropriate badge, was present at the site of the picket. As a result of the monitoring, a blank of monitoring of a mass event was filled, providing the basis for the present report.
The picket lasted from 2.00 to 2.21 p.m. At 2.07 p.m. it included 11 participants, designated with topical T-shirts “Freedom to Belarusian prisoners!” and “Freedom to Mikalai Statkevich!” amd printed portraits of the political prisoners Ihar Alinevich, Mikalai Dziadok, Artsiom Prakapenka, Mikalai Statkevich and Yauhen Vas'kovich, as well as the portraits of missing persons – Viktar Hanchar, Yury Zakharanka and Dzmitry Zavadski. No slogans were voiced at the event.
The public order during the event was secure by eleven persons in civil clothes, two of them recorded the picket on video. Eight journalists implemented their professional duties during the event, without any hindrance.
The picketers voluntarily dispersed after the event.
On request of a picketer, a policeman in civil clothes summoned a road policeman, who fostered the unblocking of the nearest pedestrian crossing, which was blocked by a Jeep car.
The picket on Niezaliežnasć Avenue was essentially peaceful. Formal lack of appeal for it cannot serve as a reason for finding it unlawful, since the international standards of freedom of association do not require to apply for permission so long before, as demanded by the Belarusian legislation.
A positive factor, noted by the observers, is that the picketers were given an opportunity to express their views without hindrance on the part of the police. At the same time, we call on the police office to guard the public order wearing uniform and identification badges.