19 January 2018, Friday, 6:37

ZHREO against the Belarus Free Theatre

Authorities continue to pressure against the Belarus Free Theatre. This time, through the housing and maintenance services.

On the eve of the triumphant London tour of the Belarus Free Theatre policemen raided a few times a private house rented by the manager of the theatre Svetlana Sugako, in the guise of response to complaints from neighbors, but in reality to write down passport details of members of the troupe and the audience. And immediately on her return from the UK, Svetlana received a summons from ZHREO* of Soviet district of Minsk «according to the case of an administrative offense.»

The Belarus Free Theatre Manager commented to charter97.org on the appearance of this summons: «I have no idea what kind of offense it is all about. All police raids ended up with a procedure when passport details of the people, who were at that time in the house, were written down, and no reports of violations have been made. If it is an initiative of the housing service, we would like to know what its representatives have accused people of, people who haven't broke any law, and stayed in a private house.»

The leaders of the Belarus Free Theatre have their own version of what is happening. «A few months ago we started an international campaign «Give a Body Back!», urging to return the bodies of killed and executed people; release political prisoners and abolish the death penalty in Belarus. Packages for corpses, letters and appeals, were sent to hundreds of European officials, on which we started to get official replies these days. During the tour of the Belarus Free Theatre in London, thousands of Britons have signed appeals to the leadership of the European Union on the implementation of these requirements, materials about what has been happening in our country appeared in dozens of leading publications. Certainly, the Belarusian authorities can not calmly take it and carry on when they have been pointed out to their vices and when people seek help of the international institutions in correcting them,» - Nicolai Khalezin commented on the situation.

«During all of the eight and a half years of its existance the members of the Belarus Free Theatre troupe have been under pressure. Today we can make a textbook of repressions, relying just only on own experience. Now another structure has joined of the persecutors of the theater – a housing and maintenance service. One gets the feeling that the people working there, have nothing else to do but to make pressure on the Belarus Free Theatre. If it's true, then let them go around from house to house and asked the residents of the Soviet district, if everything has been in order in the assigned area. I'm sure they'll hear a lot of interesting things in their address, and not about a theatrical issue,» - Artistic Director of the theatre added.

*ZHREO – housing, repair and maintenance service