Minsk: No long queues anymore, but people still attend pre-election pickets

Alternative candidates’ campaigning in Minsk. 14 June 2020. Photo: Belsat

On June 14, there were no rallies near Kamarouski market in Minsk, but a significant number of people came to sign for wannabe presidential candidates.

According to human rights centre Viasna, 115 people were waiting their turn there at about 13.00. Despite the lack of crowds, the police were present, and the picketers were filmed by plainclothes men.

The initiative groups of Valery Tsapkala, Viktar Babaryka, Syarhei Cherachan, Andrey Dzmitryeu, Yury Hubarevich, Volha Kavalkova and other alternative candidates were collecting signatures there.

People queueing to sign for wannabe presidential candidates. 14 June 2020. Photo: Belsat

Last Wednesday, Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, a potential presidential contender and the wife of jailed blogger Syarhei Tsikhanouski, asked the members of her team not to stage pickets in Minsk and other big cities during the following weekend in fear of further provocations and arrests.

A week before, thousands of people voluntarily spent hours in lines to put their signatures in support of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s would-be competitors. Kilometre-long queues were spotted not only in the capital, but also in regional and district centres. In total, mass pickets were held in 30 cities of Belarus.

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In May, the Belarusian Central Election Commission registered 15 of 55 initiative groups. It means that over a dozen wannabe candidates got the green light for collecting signatures to be nominated for the 2020 presidential run. There are both establishment and moderate opposition politicians among them.

To officially become a presidential candidate, a contender must get 100,000 signatures for his/her nomination. The initiative groups are to be engaged in collecting signatures from May, 21 to June, 19. The names of the candidates will be made public in mid July.

On June 12, the incumbent Belarusian leader claimed that about 1.5 million sugnatures had already been collected in his support.

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