Minsk authorities bar opposition from celebrating Freedom Day near Opera House

Minsk Сity Executive Committee has refused permission to hold a rally on March, 25 near the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre in Minsk, Yury Hubarevich, the leader of For Freedom movement, told belsat.eu.

In early January, the United Civic Party, the Hramada party and For Freedom filed an application with a request to allow a concert on March, 24 and a rally – on March, 25. The organizers intended to put up tents and stands there, to talk about their activities and collect signatures for the reforms.

Yury Hubarevich

“They have turned our application down and explained that we announced it in media outlets not having any permission. However, we submitted two nearly identical applications; we did not say in public about one of them (that of March 24) for a reason, because it was a backup option. Minsk City Executive Committee have banned the both, citing Paragraph 8 of the Law on Mass Events,” Hubarevich said.

In his opinion, the ban is illegal. The politician believes that the decision is politically motivated. The city authorities are just obeying to President who has recently made it clear that he does not approve of the celebration in the centre of the city.

“If none of the options are accepted, we do not rule out that the society is ready for unauthorized celebrations, and we will support them,” the politician said.

Yury Hubarevich and his associates are unhappy about the fact that no joint committee has been established this year. He is calling on all the interested in contributing to the smooth running of the festivities to unite.

Earlier, Pavel Belavus, one of the organizers of the Freedom Day-2018, filed an application to Minsk City Executive committee to stage a concert on March, 24 at the Dynamo stadium in Minsk, but the authorities did not consider it possible referring to the preparations for the Second European Games. On Monday, the group asked the Committee to let them keep the event near the Sports Palace or in Freedom Square.

On Wednesday, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent told tut.by that the full relief of sanctions on Belarus was up to Minsk. According to the diplomat, the authorities’ permission to hold Freedom Day-2019 will be regarded as ‘another step forward’.

Permission to hold Freedom Day-2019 will be regarded as Belarus’ step forward – US diplomat

Freedom Day (Dzień Voli) is an unofficial holiday in Belarus, which is celebrated on March 25 to commemorate the creation on that date in 1918 of the Belarusian People’s Republic (BNR). It came into existence at the end of the First World War, when Bolshevik forces left Minsk and the city was occupied by German troops. On March 25, 1918 the Provisional Government (Rada) proclaimed the independence of the BNR. After the Red Army re-entered Minsk, the Communist government replaced the Rada; its members had to emigrate. The current regime denies Freedom Day and often prevents the opposition forces from celebrating it.

КА, belsat.eu