Small business association leader arrested in Minsk

The Chairman of business NGO Perspektiva (‘Prospect’) was to hand over a petition including small undertakers’ demands to the Department of Entrepreneurship.

Shumchanka was arrested by policemen on his way to trade centre Parking at 12.30, Viachaslau Pilipuk, an activist of the NGO, said. Moreover, journalists Ihar Karney (RFE/RL), Natallia Kastsyukevich ( and Ales Sivy (‘Narodnaya Volya’) were detained together with the chairman of Perspektiva.

According to Viachaslau Pilipuk, Mr Shumchanka and the journalists were going by car to Zhdanovichy market where hundrends of strikers were holding a meeting. Then the car was stopped by officers of a directorate of interior; now Anatol Shumchanka is unavailable telephonically.

(UPD) The journalists were released; Mr Shumchanka was sentenced to 5-day arrest for organising an unsanctioned mass action.

On June 24, 2013 the Board of Entrepreneurs took a decision to stage a nation-wide strike in protest of introducing new certification rules for imported clothing and footwear within the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. the protest was supportes in Minsk, Mahiliou, Mazyr, Hrodna, Navapolatsk.

Approved by the Commission of the Customs Union and scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2013, the new certification rules prohibit the sale of clothes and footwear without a special label confirming their compliance with the Customs Union`s safety standards. The sellers will be required to submit samples of their goods to laboratories for testing and pay the certification costs.

Small business owners across Belarus have condemned the rules as unfair, stressed that manufacturers and not sellers should pay the costs and expressed readiness to shut up shop, stop paying taxes and stage large-scale protests starting July 1 if their demands are ignored.


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