St. Petersburg: Belarusians picketing embassy warned against showing white-red-white flags

Picketers at Belarusian embassy in St. Petersburg.

Starting December 26, picketers will be banned from showing symbols in ‘protest’ white-red-white colours when gathering at Belarus’ embassy in St. Petersburg, MBKh Media reports citing Artur Hruntou, a representative of the local association of Belarusians.

“Yesterday a police officer approached us and said that we would be prohibited from showing Belarusian symbols near the embassy building and chanting slogans,” he said.

The policeman referred to the federal law which has it that foreign citizens are forbidden to stage rallies in Russia.

“I told him that we did not hold rallies, but according to him, arranging public events is not allowed as well. And since we have [white-red-white] flags and other symbols, it can be defined as a public event,” Hruntau said.

Moreover, the picketers are also banned from using white-red-white ribbons and badges. Failing that, they might get a fine of 4,000 Russian rubles (140 BYN).

“His message was quite plain: ‘I am a low ranker, I was given such instruction from above. Some people are very tired of you’,” Hruntau added.

Belarusians living in St. Petersburg have been staging solidarity and protest rallies 140 days in a row. They demand the resignation of Alyaksandr Lukashenka and show support to their compatriots.

(UPD) On Saturday evening, 14 picketers have been detained near the Belarusian embassy in St. Petersburg. Notably, they did not bring white-red-white flags to today’s picket in the wake of Friday’s warning.