You are here

Belarus' Interior Ministry explains detentions during March 15 rally in Minsk

Person detained on March 15 during the rally against Decree No3 grossly violated the law on mass events and resisted the police, said the Interior Ministry March 16.

Law enforcement officers acted strictly within the law, and the law is fairly loyal to such violations. European and US experience shows that one can get a year's jail term if a person's face is covered during a protest.

Minsk. This is a mass rally authorized and permitted by the authorities. People call it the march for the abolition of decree No3. Despite the fact that the decree is officially suspended, organizers gathered some people near the Academy of Sciences.

Again, this was a permitted protest.

Those unhappy with the decree did what they wanted: gave interviews, shouted slogans and carried the coffin and flags of all colors. Police did not interfere with the rally even despite the fact that those opinions went far beyond the initial topic of the event.

Participant of the march:
We are anarchists, we are capable of much. The most important thing now is not to go back and continue to fight for the abolition of this tax.

One could fight but... why? Fight against something that does not exist now? The question is: why does a person allegedly having problems with finding a job and willing to resolve his difficult situation at a mass rally covers his face not to be recognized? But let's brush aside the sentimental talk.

Covered faces at a mass event is a direct violation of Belarusian laws.

And the anarchists - who are constantly seen at such protests - could hardly forget about it. The police politely reminds them about it.

It should be noted that Article 11 of the Belarusian "Law on Mass Events" is not something new to the world. On the contrary, it is a very lightweight version in comparison with international experience. Masks at demonstrations are forbidden in the United States, Canada, and Austria. In Germany, you can get a one-year jail term for covering your face during mass events, while the same violation in Spain is punishable by a fine of 30,000 euros.

In Belarus, the maximum fine is about $350 or at most a jail term of 15 days.

Georgy Yevchar, spokesman for the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus:
During the protest rally, some individuals grossly violated the law on mass events, which prohibits hiding faces behind masks. Police officers warned them of misconduct, but the legitimate demands of law enforcement officers were ignored by these citizens and they continued participation in the event wearing masks.

To identify these persons and check their possible involvement in other offenses, it was decided to detain them. 

The detention was carried out in public transport, as there was a likelihood that offenders could hide.

The detention in the trolleybus was quite brutal but still legal. By the way, a police officer was injured during the detention. Now he is in hospital.

But back to the protest itself and its occasion. There were some really unemployed people at this protest. And those who really need help did not miss the chance to address the authorities with their problem. Grodno City Executive Committee Chairman went to protesters and immediately outlined solutions for five people.

MP Igor Marzalyuk came to talk with protesters in Mogilev. But when he asked who exactly needed help almost all the participants remained silent.

March 15 protests against Decree No3 gathered about 400 people in Grodno, 300 in Mogilev, and about 1,500 in Minsk.

This number includes onlookers, journalists and people in masks. They shouted loudly and spoke much. But the decree has been suspended, so is this all worth it? It has been said at all levels that the document would be amended. Is this a protest for the sake of protest? At least there was a reason for these people to wave a red-and-black flag... Almost like during Ukraine's Maidan.

Belarus' Interior Ministry explains detentions during March 15 rally in Minsk