Updated at 20:51,24-11-2020

Authorities ban protest of entrepreneurs

Vital Babin, Belsat

Despite the Minsk City Executive Committee banning the entrepreneurs’ rally, which was to be held on March 14, the leader of the “Perspective” Anatoly Shumchanka and politician Mikalai Statkevich invited traders to the building of the Ministry of Taxes and Duties on the same day to express collective protest to the norms of the Decree #222.

“An important role was played by the location of this ministry – in close proximity to the Government House and adjacent to it. Therefore, it will also be a warning to the authorities,” said the politician Mikalai Statkevich.

The leader of the “Perspective” Anatoly Shumchanka emphasizes that the place of the future rally was also chosen for the reason that it is the Ministry of Taxes and Duties — the only one that did not make a single concession in resolving entrepreneurial crisis during talks between businessmen and officials in the framework of the working group.

Meanwhile, some traders, who, after two months of protests partly went to work, questioned the appropriateness of such rallies.

“I will support it, if it is a sanctioned rally. I will not go to the non-sanctioned rally, because it’s against the law,” says trader. “Yes, we supported them, we were on the forums and on the square. But, as you can see, it does not solve anything. We have one person deciding everything,” said a small businessman.

“We need to continue what we did before. We also need to connect the common people – hard workers and others. After all, our government are not worth anything,” said the Minsk entrepreneur.
In its refusal to allow a march, the authorities, among other things, referred to the fact that even before receiving the permit, organizers had repeatedly declared time and place of the rally and did not specify the sources of its funding, which violated the law. In addition, at the same time and in the same place the UCP planned to hold another protest, which is against the law. As a result, the organizers of the march of businessmen accused party leader Anatoly Lyabedzka in disrupting the protest, despite the fact that the UCP shortly withdrew its application.

“To some extent, unfortunately, the refusal is legal, but the rally has been declared, people are ready, they want to express their protest. And I think that the organizers have to give them that opportunity,” said Mikalai Statkevich.

As evidence that the organizers would not retreat and will continue to protect the rights of traders, Statkevich and Shumchanka signed a joint statement calling on the authorities to cancel the Decree #222. The politician and leader of the “Perspective” are planning to hand in the document to the Ministry of Taxes and Duties during the protest. But addressing the document to officials, according to Mikalai Statkevich, is not necessary, because the presence of people around the ministry itself is already an evidence of such a requirement.