16 July 2019, Tuesday, 14:20
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Brest Fortress: Battery Plant Opponents Set Example For Country

6

Be realistic - demand the impossible.

For 25 years, the authorities have tried to accustom Belarusians to the idea that it is pointless to protest against the decisions of the authorities. They say you can't achieve anything but get hit on the head with a baton, lose your job, or even go to jail.

The situation in Brest also looked hopeless: the construction of a battery factory was sanctioned at the top. Prime Minister Siarhei Rumas said that thanks to this company, new jobs would be created in the region, he said, that the project passed all the necessary examinations and concerns about the harmfulness of production were exaggerated.

When disgruntled Brest citizens began to take to the streets and demand that construction should be stopped, "law enforcement officers" came into action: from the police to the district administration commission. They detained even a man in a fox costume who appeared in the square, where protesters traditionally fed pigeons.

The indifference of the overwhelming majority of the local population was a further problem for the citizens concerned. Only hundreds of people out of 350,000 residents of Brest took part in the protests, even though everyone would have to breathe the harmful emissions. What's more, some of them also asked the activists how much they were paid to participate in the protests?

At this point, it was very easy to put your hands down. All the more so, for more than a year the protests did not give any visible effect.

But the opponents of harmful production did not give up. And a drop pierced the stone: the construction of the plant was suspended.

Yan Buyan, Salidarnasts