‘Picketing’: Minsker gets hefty fine over having candle in window

On 12 November 2021, the Minsk police spotted a candle in a local resident’s window, which resulted in his appearing before court on December 10. In early January, the man received a court ruling and shared the information with Belsat.eu.

Illustrative photo: Vladimir Varfolomeev / Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

By placing a burning candle on the loggia and ‘demontrating it to citizens’, the man ‘held a mass event (picket) to publicly express his social and political interests which was not authorised by Minsk City Executive Committee’, the protocol reads.

The place was not searched. The proof of holding ‘the unauthorised event’ was a photo taken by police officers. Charged under Article 24.23 of the Code of Administrative Offences, the man did not admit his guilt and explained that he had not intended to stage a ‘mass event’ with the help of a candle. However, the judge apparently took heed of the story from the witness – a policemen who was wearing a balaclava when giving testimony via video link – and imposed a fine of 1,450 rubles on the defendant.

In December, Natallya Kapytska, an employee of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences, was sentenced to 5 days in jail for lighting a candle and placing in on the window sill on the anniversary of the death of Minsk protester Raman Bandarenka. The young man was beaten to death allegedly by pro-government forces or Lukashenka adherers on 11 November 2020.

Year passes since death of Minsk protester Raman Bandarenka. His murderers still at liberty