Anniversary of protests against construction of battery factory in facts and figures Photo

2019 2019-02-26T16:33:26+0300 2019-02-26T16:34:58+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/galuby.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Protest against the construction of the battery factory in Brest. Photo by Brestskaya Gazeta

Protest against the construction of the battery factory in Brest. Photo by Brestskaya Gazeta

February 25 marked the anniversary of the beginning of mass protest of Brest residents against the construction of a battery factory by IPower company.

The booster of the spontaneous protest was an online stream by bloggers Aliaksandr Kabanau and Siarhej Piatrukhin, during which they announced their plans to protest at the central square of Brest on February 25, 2018, if the local authorities decided not to halt the construction of the battery factory near the city.

Protest against the construction of the battery factory in Brest. Photo by Brestskaya Gazeta
Protest against the construction of the battery factory in Brest. Photo by Brestskaya Gazeta

For "incitement to participate in an unauthorized mass event," bloggers were punished with fines at a rate of 50 base values.

Thus began one of the longest and most creative confrontations between local authorities and citizens in the modern history of Belarus which was called "feeding the pigeons." Since then, such protests are held at the central square of Brest almost every Sunday. Residents gather at the square and pretend to feed the birds while discussing environmental and political issues related to the factory.

Protest against the construction of the battery factory in Brest. Photo by Uladzimir Vialichkin
Protest against the construction of the battery factory in Brest. Photo by Uladzimir Vialichkin

According to the Human Rights Center Viasna, altogether, the courts of Brest have punished 27 people (some of them repeatedly) for participating or calling others to join protest actions. Many have spent a day or two in detention awaiting trials.

The total amount of fines for protest-related administrative offenses totaled 730 base values, or 17,900 rubles. Three protest participants - Siarhej Piatrukhin, Aliaksandr Kabanau, Mikalai Statkevich - were arrested for five days.

An absolute record-breaker in fines is blogger Siarhej Piatrukhin - 240 base values ($2,800). The smallest penalty - 1 base value - was imposed on Julia Nichyparuk who allegedly made a snowman near the construction site and placed a protest poster on it.

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