In Belarus clapping hands became a political act and almost a crime due to so called silent protest, during which people gathered at main city squares without chanting or bringing banners, but just through their presence in public space and clapping hands they tried to express their dissatisfaction with the ruling regime. Now, Belarusian Ministry of Interior informed that clapping hands will be permitted for the occasion of upcoming city festival in Minsk.
„No one has to be afraid of clapping their hands. If there is any reason for clapping, go for it.“ – said an official of Ministry of Interior Ivan Kubrakov during a press conference on Wednesday.
People who participated in silent protests and clapped their hands in main city squares were often arrested and attacked by undercover policemen. The brutal treatment of protesters led to a situation in which people were afraid to clap their hands during official state celebrations, fearing they will be taken for opposition supporters. Such was the case on July 3rd, when president Lukashenka gave a speech and received very weak applause.
What is more, the Prosecutor General office informed they will prosecute policemen who interrupted journalists work during the silent protests this summer. „People holding appropriate offices will be held responsible for violating media law“ – informed Prosecutor General Office staff member Pavel Radionav.
During the silent protests undercover police confiscated journalists‘ equipment, including photo and video cameras and some of the reporters were arrested.