Freedom Day: Opposition politician Statkevich promises to take control of rally

Organizers urge regional activists to join the rally on March 25, Belarus’s historical Freedom Day.

This time, the agenda of protesting is not only topical issues of independence, but also demands to revoke the tax on idlers, stop fleecing the Belarusians and hold free and fair elections.

Mikalai Statkevich, a 2010 presidential candidate and former political prisoner, has claimed responsibility for the control of the rally. The politician is also the leader of the Belarusian National Congress.

In Belsat TV program ‘Hot Commentary’, Statkevich addressed law enforcement agencies, president Alyaksandr Lukashenka and the Belarusian nation. The politician wants the authorities to agree to the dialogue with opposition and introducing peaceful changes, advises siloviki to remember that after the power shift they may appear before court for police abuse and calls the Belarusians for unity and consistency.

On March 15, Constitution Day, marches of non-parasites were held in Minsk, Mahiliou and Hrodna. According to people who protesting the so-called ‘parasite’ law, Lukashenka’s Decree Nr 3 is unconstitutional. The decree signed in April, 2015 established the obligation of the citizens of Belarus, foreign citizens permanently residing in Belarus, stateless persons, who did not participate in the financing of public spending or participated in such financing less than 183 days (six months – ed.) in the past year, to pay a fee of 20 basic units (appr. $230).

When arresting protesters on Wednesday, plainclothes policemen refused to show their IDsused violence and even fired tear gas.

Freedom Day, Belsat TV animated film (ENG)

Freedom Day (Dzień Voli) is an unofficial holiday in Belarus, which is celebrated on March 25 to commemorate the creation on that date in 1918 of the Belarusian People’s Republic (BNR). It came into existence at the end of the First World War, when Bolshevik forces left Minsk and the city was occupied by German troops. On March 25, 1918 the Provisional Government (Rada) proclaimed the independence of the BNR. After the Red Army re-entered Minsk, the Communist government replaced the Rada; its members had to emigrate. The current regime denies Freedom Day and often prevents the opposition forces from celebrating it.

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