On November 24, opposition politicians Mikalai Statkevich and Uladzimir Nyaklyayueu organized a rally in Minsk on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the 1996 referendum. About 100 people participated in the event.
They did not ask for permission; on November 18, the duo just informed Minsk City Executive Committee of their plans.
“This is not an application for holding a mass event which is usually made 15 days prior, this is nothing but an announcement. Belarus has no legitimate law on mass actions. Current laws violate constitutional rights of citizens and does not comply with the international obligations of Belarus,” former political prisoner Mikalai Statkevich says.
According to him, now one has to be ‘guided by the constitutions and practice of the neighboring countries’.
“We inform the authorities that we are going to resort to our constitutional right to freedom of assembly in Minsk’s Freedom Square on November 24 at 18:00. There will be a rally dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Lukashenka’s coup. It is a black day in the history of Belarus,” the politician said.
The referendum of November 24, 1996 was held on the initiative of Alyaksandr Lukashenka. It rounded into making amendments to the Constitution, which, among other things, extended the then presidential term of Lukashenka for two and a half years. The referendum results were not recognized by the international community.