Local authorities in Vitsebsk, Navapolatsk and Hrodan have banned a number of awareness-raising pickets, scheduled for April 26 to mark the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. According to the officials, the organizers failed to submit an appropriate application.
Four representatives of the political party Belarusian Popular Front in Vitsebsk sent a request to the administration of the Chyhunachny district to hold a picket in the local park. However, the bid was rejected, as the applicants failed to attach copies of the contracts as required by the City Executive Committee’s decision. It says that the organizers must sign contracts with the police, public utilities and health care departments. But these services refuse to enter into contracts with the activists. So the activists requested that the authorities did not pay attention to the decision of the Vitsebsk City Executive Committee, but were directly guided by the Law “On Mass Events” and the Constitution. They say that the decision actually makes it impossible to exercise people’s rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Over the past five years, not a single opposition activist has managed to sign agreements required by the Vitsebsk executive officials.
In Hrodna, members of the local Belarusian Popular Front’s office have also received from the executive committee official bans on conducting awareness-raising pickets, scheduled for April 26 to mark the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.