Penalties for participating in protest rallies have recently become more grave in Belarus, but the authorities are mulling over further steps towards making them even more drastic. The changes are to be introduced in Q1 2021.
During Thursday’s conference, Alyaksandr Lukashenka stressed that the situation in the country had been brought under control thanks to security services’ actions:
“Law enforcement and other government agencies prevented our country from falling into the abyss of another colour revolution, no matter how much the foreign sponsors of the protests might want it.”
In his opinion, the country’s legislation had been liberalised very much over the past years. but ‘recent developments’ made the Belarusian offiсials wonder whether they had not gone too far. For these reasons and on the back of ‘Belarusian citizens’ appeals’, many ‘improvements’ have been included in the legal framework, Alyaksandr Lukashenka notes.
“Is this enough or do we need something else, for example, in part of combating extremism and terrorism? Should we revisit the legislation on mass events and other acts related to public safety? Do we need to take a look at how it is done abroad, in France, Germany, and neighbouring Russia? The answers to these questions must be found by the bodies that are now on the front line of the struggle against the attempts to destabilise the situation in the country,” state-run agency BelTA quotes the politician.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka has definitely referred to amending the criminal and labour codes, which aims at preventing strikes. The authorities also want to step up the protection of judges, state servants and journalists so that the regime opponents would think twice before making their personal data public.
In accordance with the rules are to come into effect on March 1, Belarusians will be punished more severely for showing up at ‘unauthorised mass rallies’. Moreover, not only participation, but calling for holding such events will be punishable. The maximum term of administrative arrest has also been extended.