15 days imprisonment for peaceful protest in Minsk
The Leader of the Belarusian Association of Entrepreneurs Alexander Shumchenko and the Leader of the United Civic Party Anatoly Lebedko have been imprisoned for 15 days for taking part in protests in Minsk yesterday, 10 January.
The district court in Minsk found them guilty of having organized an unauthorized rally.
Alexander Shumchenko was in the delegation formed to hold negotiations with the authorities. After leaving the Presidents Administration, he told the protesters that the talks had collapsed.
Shumchenko and Lebedko were arrested on 10 January after the protesters had begun to disperse. In order to catch Lebedko, the Internet portal “Charter 97” recounts, they seized a city bus: “They got on the bus after Anatoly and told the bus driver to go where they told him”. The opposition leader was then put in a police car and taken to the station.
According to the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs 27 people were detained in Minsk. According to the Belarusian media, some were severely beaten by the police. The protesters were accused of holding an unauthorized rally and of hooliganism.
The individual entrepreneurs were protesting against a Presidential Decree which only allows them to employ close relatives. Since the beginning of January business people throughout the country have been striking. They are planning another rally in Minsk for 21 January.