The Baranovichi City Executive Committee has refused to sanction a picket in support of the independent REP Trade Union and its leaders. Bureaucrats found a formal reason: the applicants failed to conclude contracts with the militia, medics and communal services, the Radio Racyja reports.
Nikolai Chernous, an activist and an entrepreneur, who applied for the picket, undertook these obligations in writing, it was no help. Sergey Govsha, a REP activist and a rights defender, gave his comment:
“Nowhere in Europe an applicant of a mass event should contract and pay money to public utilities, because they are funded from the stat budget. The police (militia in our country) is funded from the state budget, formed by taxpayers. Same with medics: if something happens during our picket, we’ll call an ambulance by mobile phone. And cleaners? This is a picket. What garbage can it make?”
The activist believes that both local regulations and the very law on mass events in Belarus should be amended. “A ban on a picket imposed by bureaucrats violates human rights. This was repeatedly stated by the UN Human Rights Committee in response to complaints sent from Baranovichi. Belarusian authorities were advised to amend the legislation; however, they would not change the law ‘On Mass Events’,” Sergey Govsha has concluded.