The Belarusian Association of Journalists called on the Minister of information Mikhail Podgainy to give up his high post. In an open letter to the Minister they underscored that his Ministry, endowed with great authority, is turning into a tool of suppressing rights and freedoms.
The European Union reiterates its wish to welcome Belarus among the democratic states in Europe. However the EU is seriously concerned about the situation on human rights and democracy in the country. The EU is concerned about the draft of the law "On freedom of conscience and religious organisations" which was approved on June 27 by the House of Representatives to be submitted later to the Council of the Republic for final approval.
Part of the entrepreneurs, disagreeing with the resolution of the entrepreneurs’ meeting, held in Minsk on August 26, decided to launch on September 1 a national strike without tax payments into the budget and also raise a number of concrete demands.
Belarusian Helsinki Committee received a complaint from the followers of the Hindu religion, members of the spiritual community of shaiva-shakts “Light of Kailasa” with a petition about the persecution and violation of their rights for the freedom of faith and freedom of expression.
10 days of arrest – such a verdict was voiced by the judge of the central district court of Minsk Tatiana Pavluchuk against the ZUBR movement activist Evgeny Afnagel for his part in the protest against Belarus’ incorporation by Russia, held by ZUBR last Tuesday in Minsk. As a sign of protest Evgeny Afnagel declared a hunger-strike right in the courtroom. “I stood for the independence of Belarus! That’s my duty as of a citizen of my country!” – said the young patriot, after which police grabbed him and threw into their van. Afnagel was in no time delivered to the Okrestina jail. This was the forth accusatory sentence, passed by judge Pavluchuk against the participants of the anti-integration actions – on August 19 Tatiana Pavluchuk sentenced three ZUBR activists to five and ten days of arrest for picketing the Russian embassy.
Opposition newspaper “Nasha Svaboda” will never again see light in Belarus. The newspaper’s editor-in-chief Pavel Zhouk said on Tuesday that after the Moskovsky district court satisfied on August 2 the petition, filed against “NS” by the chair of the Committee for state control Anatoly Tozik, it became impossible to issue the paper anymore.
Journalists of the independent Grodno newspaper “Pagonya” Nikolai Markevich and Pavel Mozheiko were registered in the Oktyabsrky district police of Grodno. In two weeks time at the latest the men will be delivered to the place of the punishment, said police chief Vyacheslav Savich.
Council of the Belarusian Association of Journalists protests against the dismissal of the editor-in-chief of the “Belorussky Chas” Alexander Starikevich. BAJ considers this step to be yet another crackdown on the freedom of speech in the country.
The assembly of entrepreneurs upheld the decision of the Gomel council of private entrepreneurs of the Free trade union on holding on September 1 an unlimited strike without tax payments. The businessmen will formulate their demands at the sanctioned protest of the individual Gomel entrepreneurs, due to take place on August 28.
Russian national Natalya Solovieva was found guilty of violating the Belarusian legislation, regulating the implementation of assemblies, meetings, demonstrations and other actions. The decision was passed yesterday by the Central district court of Minsk for Natalya Solovieva’s part in an unsanctioned picket in the Belarusian capital.
Retailers from the “Baikalsky” food market held a strike of protest against the market’s planned shutdown by October 1. The spontaneous action attracted around one thousand businessmen and residents of the suburban area. They raised in hands portraits “Before you destroy you have to build”, “Jobs for the people, not officials”, “Officials, think about children and old people, inhabiting the district” and other. Orators harshly criticized the local officials’ policy on liquidating the food market, where dozens of thousand people, especially the poor ones, buy food.
Public association “Comradeship of the Belarusian language”, named after Fransisk Skarina, proposes to the Belarusian citizens to engage in a month-long action “Speaking Belarusian”, dedicated to the upcoming Day of the Belarusian literature. On September 2-16 the announcements about the action will be placed in Minsk subway and newspapers. “You can be proud of your language. Fransisk Skarina spoke Belarusian and he wasn’t sillier than you and I. Remember the best, be yourself, be the first,” – reads the ad. The action especially targets those citizens, who feel ashamed to speak their native tongue.