20 January 2018, Saturday, 22:07

Homiel city executive committee bans 40 rallies

The city executive committee did not issue an authorization for 40 rallies in the region center that activists scheduled on 27 July.

Local human rights defenders and the activists of political parties of pro-democracy organizations applied for holding 40 rallies in Homiel on 27 July aimed at reminding the public of the adoption of the Declaration of Sovereignty on 27 July 1990. On 27 July the Independence Day used to be celebrated in Belarus.

Human rights activist Leanid Sudalenka told BelaPAN that the city executive committee based the refusal on saying that the applicants did not meet the requirements of the resolution “On mass events”, according to which the organizer of an event must in advance conclude agreements with ambulance and communal services and pay for their work. In the refusal letter the officials also referred to the fact that the applicants intended to hold the events in the most crowded public places of the region center, while, according to the decision of the city executive committee, rallies and meetings can only be held at two sites, which are quite far from the city center.

The attempts of the activists to conclude agreements for paid services with ambulance and communal enterprises did not end in success either: the doctors say there is not enough cars, while the communal services refer to the lack of personnel.

According to Sudalenka, a de facto taboo has been active in Homiel for 10 years on any kinds of public events, held by civil society without the participation of the authorities. “The situation gets aggravated by the fact that this anti-constitutional ban is supported in courts of various levels, so the officials do not rush into the meeting halfway the constitutional rights and freedoms of the citizens. We achieved that the issue of the ban on mass events in Homiel was considered at the international level by the Human rights committee. According to their conclusion, the authorities must change the law and now allow for such violations to take place in future, but our officials are so far ignoring the resolutions of the international community. There are no mechanisms in the country, capable of making an official observe the rights and freedoms of citizens”, - the human rights activist said.