More than 200 people protested at a Polish-Belorussian border against new duty tariffs regulations, resulting in police arresting 22 demonstrators on counts of disobeying police commands and disrupting public order.
Demonstrators attempted to block border crossing in Bruzgi in protest against new tariffs imposed on gasoline and food products carried out of the country by individuals. According to the new regulations, a driver can cross the border with a canister filled with fuel without paying duty on it only once every five days. Customs officers stopped cars, which has gone abroad more than once within last few days. For many Belorussians living in the border area, selling Belorussian goods for a higher price on the other side of the border is a way of making ends meet in times of an economic crisis.
Special police force unit dispersed the demonstration using tear gas. One of the protester and one policeman burned by the gas were hospitalized. The 22 arrested people are held in a Hrodna detention center, pending trial.
The new Belorussian law imposed additional duty tariffs not only on the exported fuels, but also on food products, such as pasta, grains, butter, Belorussian-made home appliances like refrigerators or kitchen stoves and cement. The new duty tariffs were introduced in order to tackle goods deficit in Belorussian stores, struggling to fill their empty shelves with products.