Protests against Lukashenka’s decree: Belarus opposition set to hold non-idlers march

Belarusian opporition parties which are seeking to revoke the so-called decree on ‘idlers’ signed by president Lukashenka in April, 2015 have held a press conference on Monday. An organization committee was established by the initiative of the United Civic Party of Belarus.

The decree 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).

“The government should fight against unemployment, rather than with the unemployed” – that is  the main message which the organizing committee wants to send to the Belarusian authorities.

Anatol Lyabedzka, Chairman of the United Civic Party, opened the press conference. He reiterated: “A march of non-parasites will take place!”

“Such marches will be held also in regions, not only in Minsk,” the politician stressed.

There will be marches in Mahiliou and Homiel on February 19.

The request letter to hold the march will be filed to the Minsk city executive committee on January 30, Anatol Lyabedzka said.

The participants are expected to gather the Academy of Sciences and then march to Bangalore Square.

“We want to attract new people to the action, that is why we have opted for a ‘soft’ form of protests,”  he added.

According to human rights activist Aleh Vouchak, there have been two reports of suicides over the decree on ‘social parasites’.

“We offer not to pay the tax, but to appeal against paying,” he said.

“The more people will not pay this tax, the more likelihood that the decree will be cancelled,” Dzyanis Sadouski, a representative of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party, believes.

The decree is contrary to the nine articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, Mechyslau Hryb, a former chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Belarus, stressed.

On January 18, a nationwide campaign for cancelling the notorious decree on ‘social parasitism’ was launched by the Belarusian Trade Union of Radioelectronic Industry Workers (REP) and NGO Legal Assistance to Population. Anybody who wants to can sign for the abolition of the decree in REP offices in Belarusian sities and town; trade union activists will be also collecting signatures. The campaign will last until February, 18. One can also sign the petition on the Internet or leave their opinion on the website

The UCPB activists started collecting signatures for the abolition of the decree. The collected signatures will be transferred to opposition MP Hanna Kanapatskaya so that she could prove when discussing the degree at the parliament that lots of the Belarusians do support the idea of revoking it.

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