Monitoring report on the mass event on January 30, 2016 in Minsk
The mass event on January 30, 2016 was of peaceful character. From the very beginning, police officers started to compile reports on administrative violations, which prevented the participants from exercising their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. Administrative prosecution of seven activists for participation in the peaceful picket does not comply with international obligations undertaken by the Republic of Belarus, and is considered to be a repressive practice. Most police officers, as earlier, follow the event being dressed in plain clothes. There was a fact registered that a plain-clothed police officer without a badge was copying personal data of journalists.
The call to take part in an action of protest against violence of police officers, in the form of a picket near the building of the Supreme Court, appeared a few days ahead on the Internet.
The mass event on January 30, 2016 was observed personally and continuously by five observers who had been trained accordingly and marked with badges.
The course of the mass event
- At 11 am, the first banners were unwrapped at the crossroads of Lienina Street and Kirava Street; a minute later, police officers in uniforms came up and started to write reports on administrative violations, without warnings, explanations of rights and obligations. Further, plain-clothed police officers indicated to those in uniforms whom to prosecute. As a result, seven reports were drawn up for participation in an unsanctioned mass event: against Anatol Liabedzka, Dzianis Krasachok, Volha Mayorava, Maksim Vinyarski, Natallia Harachka-Basalyha, Sviatlana Yakshyna, Mikalai Kazlou. The picket lasted 30 minutes.
- All in all, there were 15 people at the picket who spoke in the loudspeakers, used one white-red-white flag and held up the banners “Stop police’s outrage”, “People cannot be eaten, but can be beaten?”, “Ministry of Justice”, crossed out sign “Supreme Court”, “Choose tut.by or tut.bei”, “Guard scum from the people”, “Perjury is a crime, it is easy and pleasant to tell the truth” (Bulgakov)”.
- The picket was attended by four employees with signs “Militsyia” (police), two traffic wardens, around 25 employees of law enforcement agencies in plain clothes, and one car with cameras on top across the road.
- There were no obstacles to work of mass media and observers, but a person in plain clothes who introduced as Baz Andrei Antonavich copied names of journalists and observers.
To law enforcement representatives:
1) to carry out protection of public order during mass events in uniforms and being identified with special IDs (badges or police shields);
2) to identify the contact person from police officers for communication with observers, mass media and organizers of a mass event;
3) to stop administrative prosecution against the participants of the picket having in mind that they exercised their right to peaceful assembly guaranteed by article 35 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, articles 19 and 21 of the ICCPR, other international human rights treaties.
4) to initiate amendments to Belarusian legislation with the view to bringing it into compliance with international standards in the sphere of peaceful assembly.