Arrests for Egging Lenin and the People's Assembly - Politics and Civil Society Digest

Arrests of activists in Belarus (photo: Reuters)

Last week Belarusian civil society and security services were preoccupied with the People’s Assemblies, the progress of the Ales Bialiatski trial and a discussion about proposed legislative amendments and restricting the freedom of assembly. Public debate on the future of National Civil Society Platform and economic reforms also appeared to be gaining momentum. None of the 19 December political prisoners were released last week.  

POLITICS

Participants in the 7 November anti-Communist action near Lenin monument sentenced to arrest. On 8 November “Young Front” activists Mikhail Muski, Siarhei Paval and Raman Vasiliieu, who had thrown eggs at the Lenin monument on Nezalezhnast Square in Minsk during the Bolshevik Revolution celebration, were found guilty of “disorderly conduct”. Muski and Paval were sentenced to 7 days and Vasillieu to 10 days arrest.

Detentions and trials of People’s Assembly organizers. On 11 November Baranavichy city court found Viktar Myarzyak and Viktar Syritsa guilty of violating the Law On Mass Events during the People’s Assembly and sentenced each of the defendants to a fine of 850,000 rubles (roughly $100).

On 11 November a Bobruisk court sentenced Konstantin Loktev and Galina Smirnova, members of the People’s Assembly organizing committee. Earlier, Yuriy Buzinayev, leader of Bobruisk UCP chapter, was sentenced to 10 days in jail on the same charges.   

Vasil Paliakou, a member of the People’s Assembly in Homel, was detained on 8 November. This is considered to be a preventive arrest in view of the second People’s Assembly being set to be held soon. A member of the organizing committee was given a warning regarding the violation of the Law On Mass Events.

Arrests after Dzyady rally. Yuriy Novitskiy and Uladzimir Yukho sentenced to 7 days of arrest on charges of hooliganism. The activists were detained after a commemorative procession in honor of victims of Stalin’s Repressions on 7 November.

Statkevich threatened with his family's arrest. The former presidential candidate has been threatened with the imprisonment of his wife and a son if he refuses to sign a petition for pardon. Statkevich says that this is not a surprise for him and he expected such a sequence of events.

Criminal case against BPF activists reopened. The criminal case against three members of the Belarusian Popular Front (Maksim Hubarevich, Ales Kalita and Siarhei Semianiuk) has been reopened. They are suspected of beating a security guard on 13 August in the building of the BFP office.

Dmitry Drozd not allowed to leave the country. A former political prisoner and activist of the European Belarus campaign has been forbidden from crossing the Belarusian-Lithuanian border and was taken off the train by border guards.

CIVIL SOCIETY

Public debate on the role of National Civil Society Platform continues. On 6 November 2011, the Chairman of the Temporary Managing Committee of the National Civil Society Platform Vladimir Matskevich published a response to the open letter circulated last week by 13 NGO members of the platform. Mr. Matskevich welcomes the open letter and urges further dialogue to elaborate a coordinated position regarding the strategy for the development of a Civil Society Platform.

NGO Perspektyva in talks with Minsk authorities over Chervenski market closure. On 8 November, Perspetkyva leaders met with the Entrepreneurship Department at the Ministry of Economy to discuss the situation regarding the ongoing controversy over the closure of the Chervenskiy market in Minsk. As a result of the meeting, the Ministry informed Perspektyva, that Minsk Mayor Mikhail Ladutko will be available for a follow-up meeting to discuss solutions.   

Civic Education Conference. On 4-5 November the Association of Additional Education, the EuroBelarus Consortium and Forum Syd held a conference dedicated to civic education and civic competencies in Belarus. Conference participants, which included over 30 Belarusian NGOs and experts, developed a number of recommendations towards the expansion and improvement of the quality of civic education in Belarus.  

ALDA Announces a Mini-Grant Program. ALDA and its Belarusian partners Lev Sapieha Foundation and the Belarusian Organization of Working Women announced the launch  of the TAMDEM project. The project will focus on supporting civic initiatives that build sustainable relations and cooperation between civil society organizations and local authorities in 2012-2013.

“Tell the truth!” campaign reminded of Ales Byalatsky. Weekends were marked by the actions supporting the leader of human rights organization “Vyasna”. In Brest, for instance, activists distributed leaflets with the text “He has thought about you for years, think about him for at least for a minute”.

Belarus Digest prepared this overview on the basis of materials provided by Pact. This digest attempts to give a richer picture of the recent political and civil society events in Belarus. It often goes beyond the hot stories already available in English-language media.

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