Grumbling at home or rallying. Will Belarusians protest against tax on ‘idlers’?

Will Belarusians continue to complain in a low voice in their kitchens? Or will they opt for taking to the streets and protests? Non-idlers’ marches are expected to take place in Minsk and other Belarusian cities. And as a pinnacle event, a protest action against the so-called decree on social parasites will be held in the capital on March 15, Constitution Day.

In April 2015, president Alyaksandr Lukashenka signed Decree Nr 3 that 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).

Non-Idlers March organizing committee invites each critic, not only those directly affected by Decree Nr 3, to express their outrage about introducing the ‘inhuman’ tax. Throughout the country activists are collecting signatures against the infamous decree, and many Belarusians have already signed the petition. But will they also come to the march?

In Hot Commentary, Dzyanis Sadouski, one of the organizers, tells Belsat TV about the preparations for Non-Idlers March:

“The first thing we are striving for is to get permission for holding the action. We want it to be not the rally of opposition, but that of angry and unhappy citizens of Belarus.

Only the march will answer the question whether Belarusian will protest in the streets and of course whether they will defend their rights.

Tens of thousands of signatures of people who want the notorious decree to be revoked have already been collected. We are going to ring up each of them and invite to show up at the march.

The format is different. The action targets the masses, it is for those who have never protested or participated in an rally before. We are trying to organize it in such a way that they will feel safe and comfortable. We believe that if the action is sanctioned, people will have less fear of being fined and arrested and they will take part in the March.”

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