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Arrests infographics, Washington conference, MediaBarCamp, feminist protest – Belarus civil society digest

The toll of activists detained as a result of street protests against decree #3 reaches nearly 200 people, sentenced to 982 days of arrests and $7,600 of fines. TUT.BY visualises statistics of the "protest spring." The two-week...


Feminist protest. Photo: belsat.eu

The toll of activists detained as a result of street protests against decree #3 reaches nearly 200 people, sentenced to 982 days of arrests and $7,600 of fines. TUT.BY visualises statistics of the "protest spring." The two-week defence of Kurapaty protected area seems to have ended in the victory of activists: construction works halted.

Sakavickija Sustrečy bring together 220 CSOs and community leaders from 40 Belarusian locations. On International Women’s Day, Belarusian feminists protest against sexism in advertising.

FreeMarket celebrates its 3-year anniversary. Conference on urban mobility is announced in Minsk. Organisers of Accessibility Week 2017 are looking for partners.

This and more in the new edition of Belarus civil society digest.

Social parasites’ and Kurapaty protests

Total number of protesters detained when street protests against the decree#3 started has reached almost 200 persons. This figure includes over 20 journalists detained while covering the events. Thus, on 16 March, at least 52 persons stood trials following violent detentions of participants of the protests against the decree #3 known as the "law against social parasites". TUT.BY provides infographics of the "protest spring" in Belarus – chronology and punishments.

Viasna, Belarusian Association of Journalists, National Platform, Belarusian Helsinki Committee call on the authorities to stop the persecution of citizens for exercising their right to peaceful protest. In their appeals to Belarus' authorities and international organisations, the Belarusian CSOs express rejection of the repressive actions related to the detentions and punishments of participants in peaceful protest actions connected with the decree #3.

Kurapaty defenders’ triumph: no construction near Stalin-era mass grave site. The two-week defence of Kurapaty protected area, a mass executions site, seems to have ended in the victory. The investor company promised to halt works to construct a business center there. Meanwhile, one of Kurapaty defenders Siarhiej Paĺčeŭski was detained and sentenced to 3 days in jail. Zmicier Daškievič, the leader of the protests was detained, when he live-streamed on Facebook.

Upcoming conferences

Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility to be held in Minsk. On 24 March, over 20 speakers from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Sweden will gather to exchange experiences and discuss plans and optimal opportunities for sustainable development of the regions of Belarus. The conference program is available. The organiser is Interaktsya fund.

The first Belarus Washington Conference to take place on 4 April. The event is devoted to 25-year anniversary of US-Belarus official diplomatic ties. Organised jointly by the Belarusian Institute of America and the German Marshall Fund in partnership with Political Sphere Institute the conference will provide a forum to discuss opportunities, prospects and possible directions in US-Belarus relations.

MediaBarCamp 2017. This year the @MediaBarCamp will be implemented for the 10th time and take place on 11-14 May. This is a space where activists from different spheres gather to share their experience implementing projects or initiatives. The topic of this year is INSPIRED BELARUS/INSPIRED BY you, or the activism is an inspiring stuff. Deadline for applications is 22 March.

Social and local activism

FreeMarket celebrates its 3-year anniversary with a large event in Minsk. On 18 March, the event space 210 METROV hosts the FreeMarket Minsk, where everyone can exchange things for free and see the mutual aid system in action. The event will take place in any case, despite the fact that two of its organisers were sentenced to 13 and 14 days in jail after the Non-parasites Protest March.

The City selected 20 participants from over 200 applications submitted. The City project suggests an intensive education for local activists and helps in the implementation of their ideas in communities. The whole process is recorded as a series of video episodes with the following broadcasting in the Internet and TV. The grand prize is a study trip to Brazil.

Accessibility Week 2017. The 5th Accessibility Week will be held on 15-21 May. This is a series of events devoted to various types of accessibility, traditionally organised by the Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This year, the Week considers accessibility in the focus of freedom from discrimination. The culmination of the Week will become a festival in Liepeĺ town.

CSO Sakavickija Sustrečy/March Meetings brought together 220 participants from 40 Belarusian locations. On 4-5 March, in Minsk, activists participated in presentations, discussions, master classes, Human Library, Fuck-Up Night to share their experience in working in local communities. The civil society forum is planned as an annual event. On 13 March, the organisers will discuss the forum’s results with journalists at the Press Club.


Belarusian feminists protested sexism. On International Women’s Day, in a shopping centre in Minsk, several girls held posters ‘No to sexist advertising!’ and ‘Down with sexism and objectivation in ads!’ They were protesting against a company producing underwear that uses in its ads the images of men and women as sex objects.

Belarus in Focus 2016 announces the winners. This year the international competition for journalists writing about Belarus in international media took place for the sixth time. This is organised by Belarus in Focus Information Office in partnership with Press Club Belarus and the International Visegrad Fund. The articles are evaluated by an international jury consisting of top media professionals.

Long-expected concert: blacklisted Michalok's Brutto performs in Minsk. After a long wait, on 8 March, Brutto unveiled their new program in Minsk with 12,5K tickets sold out. Until the first concert in Homieĺ last year, Brutto band wasn’t allowed to play in Belarus – its front-man Siarhiej Michalok was banned in Belarus for his critical stance towards the Belarusian authorities.

CSOs will translate legislation. Belarusian Language Society and Dzieja/Action initiative launch a campaign to translate legislation into the Belarusian language. The organisers also intend to make the Belarusian versions official. Translation will be conducted through the online platform, which allows engaging a large number of people simultaneously.

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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