24 June 2018, Sunday, 17:36
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Andrei Sharenda: Outraged Belarussians' March Resonates Widely

ANDREI SHARENDA
PHOTO CREDIT: NASHA NIVA

There have not been such protest events since the "perestroika."

The activist of the civil campaign European Belarus, Brest based leader of the Belarusian National Congress Andrei Sharenda said this to the website Charter97.org, commenting on the protest rallies against Decree No. 3 that were held a year ago:

– The Outraged Belarussians' March in Minsk became the largest protest event since Ploshcha-2010. Speaking about regions, there have been no such protest rallies since the times of "perestroika," when thousands of people took to the streets to voice their political and economic demands.

The main slogan of protests comes to one's mind immediately: "No to Decree No.3! Lukashenka, resign!" Political slogans replaced economical slogans. People demanded not just to abolish the decree, but to introduce cardinal changes in the life of the country.

The Outraged Belarussians' March in Minsk gave an impulse to protest rallies in the regions. Although the rally was not so numerous, it resonated widely. Hundreds of thousands of people watched the video record from the protest.

– Last year, the authorities were forced to cancel the decree on "parasitism." But on January 25, Lukashenka signed Decree No. 1, which differs little from the previous one. How can the Belarusians react to such actions of the authorities?

– Indeed, protest events were held under the slogan of abolishing of the decree on "parasitism." But the fact that people took to the streets indicates that they are driven to utter despair, and stupid decrees have only become a catalyst for the protests. Decree No. 1 has not yet entered into force, but people are actively discussing it. Belarusians do not have money, but the state is trying to screw the last penny out of the people.

It's not even about the money, they want to deprive people of freedom. There are rumors that the authorities will send all "parasites" to activity therapy centers; that the unemployed will have to pay special tariffs for the utilities.

People are ready to protest against injustice, they are just waiting for a push. But I hope that the event devoted to the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the independence of the BPR will be a good occasion to declare their demands.

Although this is a national holiday, but as things stand in Belarus now, we should use every opportunity to announce our political and economic demands. Our main economic demand is the introduction of reforms and the abolition of all unconstitutional decrees. Our main political demand is free and fair elections.