A man who made a moustached snowman may stand trial in the Belarusian city of Homiel. According to the police, his activity was nothing but… a picket.
The Belarusian who resides in a village near Homiel built a snowman in his backyard, put a red scarf on him, attached a moustache and wrote ‘Long live Belarus!’
Five days later, when it melted, a local policeman visited the villager, showed him a photo of the snowman, and drew a protocol upon him over ‘illegal picketing’. The man who might have been grassed up to the police by the neighbours is now facing up to 15 days in jail or a fine.
Earlier, similar cases took place in Belarus as well. In January 2019, Brest resident Yuliya Nichyparuk was found guilty of violating the organisation of mass events and fined, although she had just helped children with the snowman.
Even a snowman decorated with a red scarf immediately becomes a ‘suspect’ because it presents the colours of the white-red-white flag widely used by Alyaksandr Lukashenka‘s opponents.
In the autumn of 2020, a Vitsebsk court imposed a fine of 675 rubles on Tatsyana Sevyarynets, a local activist and mother of political prisoner Pavel Sevyarynets for ‘participating in an ‘unauthorised mass event’ on August, 30. However, the woman was staying at home at that moment: Tatsyana and her husband Kanstantsin just went out into the balcony of their flat on the sixth floor and waved a white-red-white flag, greeting the participants in Sunday’s solidarity march.
In December, the authorities said that those Belarusian citizens who would hang out ‘unregistered symbols’ even on their windows or balconies might be penalised under administrative law.