21 September 2017, Thursday, 9:44

Moment When "Chain Letters" Might Return

This spring, the Belarusian society won a victory that it can be proud of.

The Decree on "parasites", despite all the statements of the Belarusian authorities, was suspended. And although now officials are pretending that they are revising the scandalous decree – it's more like trying to save face, Salidarnasts writes.

The decree, sent out from the very top by the highest instruction, was de facto abolished by ordinary people. And this is an important fact to remember.

But what happened when the protests stopped? The authorities predictably set hand to those who, in their opinion, "were mudding the water" most during the spring protests.

The first to get into trouble were defenders of "parasites" – bloggers, human rights activists and independent media. Few people know that four cases at once were initiated against famous Homel blogger Maksim Filipovich – just for the fact that he was catching the "parasites’" rallies on video. The young man from have already served several administrative terms at the detention center, but the police would not leave him alone.

Human rights activist Aleh Vouchak is tried for participating in the March of Disgruntled Belarusians in Minsk. The court fined the lawyer a large sum for participating in an unauthorized event, but he refused to pay the fine. The human rights activist was taken away by an ambulance with a hypertensive crisis from the last trial, which took place on July 4.

The Homel independent resource Strong News, which actively covered the spring protests, may receive a third and final warning from the Ministry of Information.

Thus, people who actively defended the "parasites" found themselves under the aiming fire. And one gets a feeling that the moment has come when the Belarusian society must learn to protect not only itself, but also its defenders.

Otherwise, the "chain letters" might soon return: having got rid of the most active ones, the authorities will come up with new decrees – and tomorrow we might find in our mailboxes some other envelopes with the next absurd claims.