Protests on the rise: Lukashenka gets signatures of parasite tax opponents (ENG video)

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The national day of helping the so-called “parasites”. That’s how March 1 can be described, as the Bar Association decided to provide free consultations to Belarusians on the infamous decree number 3. To pay or not to pay? While some people think about the answer, others collect documents for court.

Lawyers with the people

Citizens that cannot pay the tax due to the difficult situation were able to get free legal advice in almost every city. This charity campaign of Belarusian lawyers proved to be very popular.

“Basically, all the questions were related to help in drafting of the application, indicating where to apply, which circumstances to mention, which documents to provide,” says Larysa Tryfanava, a lawyer at the legal advice office  in the Leninski district of Minsk.

There are a lot of people who fundamentally oppose the decree number 3.

The Homiel video blogger Maksim Filippovich has taken the tax office to court. Two years ago, he was fired from the company “Seismatechnica”. Now the state is forcing him, under threat of fines and arrests, to pay for the lack of jobs in the city.

“Even if I had not worked at all in 2015, I am not going to and I will not pay pay money to satisfy the demands of the decree. I am not a slave, and I am not paying for air,” said the video blogger adamantly.

“My advice to everyone is to go to court to defend their rights, to ask the court if the “parasite decree’ is contrary to the Constitution, raise the issue of forced labor being introduced in the country,” says human rights activist Leanid Sudalenka.

In his video blog about the decree number 3, Maksim Filippovich also covers the protests. The videos there have been viewed tens of thousands of times.

“We need to do everything, from small to big: file cases with courts, express our views on the street — there is nothing terrible there,” said Filipovich.

The authorities react nervously to civic activism of the decree opponents

The police again summoned the participants of the unsanctioned rally “March of outraged Belarusians” held on February 17. Some people receive calls not from the police but from executive committee officials, get invited to a ‘simple conversation’. The Homiel activist Vital Yurchanka, who collected 61 thousand signatures under the petition for the abolition of the decree, received a call from the curator of citizen’s appeals to the president.

“He said he was calling to inform me that the president had received the letter,” said Vital Yurchanka.

Will the signatures help?

According to president Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the protests against the unemployment tax are the destructive external forces’ attempt to destabilize Belarus.

“Parasites” need to know that they are simply used today for the most selfish purposes – to destroy what we have,” says the head of Belarus.

Mass demonstrations for the abolition of the decree will continue this weekend — in Brest on March 5. Then the organizing committee of the “We are not parasites” campaign is preparing protests in Maladzechna, Pinsk, Babruisk, Vorsha, Rahachou, in the regional centers of Belarus and in the capital.

Yaraslau Stseshyk, “Belsat”, photo:

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