Updated at 18:18,16-07-2018

In Belarus flash mobs to be equated to picketing

The amendments to the law "On Mass Events" adopted by the "chamber of representatives" include classifying flash mobs as picketing.

"Making amendments to these articles will make it possible to include holding all kinds of flash mobs and similar rallies with picketing," the deputy chairman of the Commission on Human rights, ethnic relations and mass media Anatol Hlaz stated at a press-conference in Minsk on Wednesday, Interfax-Zapad reports.

Telling about the amendments to the law, the "deputy" informed in particular that the term "picketing" was made more precise. Unsanctioned gatherings of people organized through Internet and social networks are qualified as "picketing" as well. Besides, as said by her, before receiving permission for holding a mass event, its organisers or other persons do not have a right to post on the web and in other informational systems information about the date and place of holding the event.

Besides, the amendments to the law envisage creation a kind of black list of mass events’ organizers. "In order to prevent violations of the public order during the mass events, it will be forbidden to become organisers for persons who had made violations when holding mass events within one year and got penalty under administrative law," A. Hlaz added.

He has also noted that a ban is imposed for holding a few events in one place and with one route. The amendments also specify that organisers of a mass event cover not the expenses of the police for guaranteeing public order at the event, but their services.

A. Hlaz has added that the list of the places where mass events cannot be held, has been expanded.

Hlaz believes that organisers of the so-called "silent" rallies should fence the places where they are held, in order to prevent a possibility of detention of accidental passers-by by policemen.

"The organisers have a right to put up a fence around the places of mass events, for not a single passer-by to get there, not a single accidental person," A. Hlaz said at a press-conference in Minsk on Wednesday. In such a way he answered the question of journalist about how the approved amendments on the "Mass Events" law protect accidental passers-by from arrests by law-enforcing agencies, when they are mistaken for participants of the so-called "silent" protest rallies.

He added that first policemen warn that the rally is unsanctioned. "Accidental persons will go away, after policemen’s warning that the rally is unsanctioned," the so-called deputy is convinced.

Besides, Hlaz has stated that the amendments to the Mass Events Law do not make the document worse than the analogous laws in European countries and the US.

"Our law is not worse," he said.