United Civic Party (UCP) members Lew Marholin and Mikhail Vasilyew were arrested while they were gathering ballot-access signatures in Barysaw, Minsk region, on August 4.
Mr. Marholin, who is the opposition party's deputy chairman, is seeking to gain access to the ballot in September’s parliamentary elections, while Mr. Vasilyew is a member of his nomination group and the head of the UCP’s Barysaw city chapter.
As Mr. Marholin told BelaPAN, he and the fellow activist had gathered voters’ signatures near a large food store for some 45 minutes when senior police officers arrived and arrested them. In particular, the officers said that displaying a sign that said, "For Fair Elections without Lukashenka" was illegal.
"I tried to explain to them that the Electoral Code does not say under which slogans I may or may not collect ballot-access signatures, but the head of the Barysaw district public security police did not listen to me," Mr. Marholin said.
The pair were taken to a police station, where they were formally charged with violating rules governing mass events under Article 23.34 of the Civil Offenses Code. They will stand trial at the Barysaw District Court on August 6.
Mr. Marholin said that he would ask the local district election commission to provide explanations to the police over the Electoral Code and rules governing the collection of ballot-access signatures. "And afterward we will see what the court will decide," he said.