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25 Mar 2017

Unauthorized street rally fails to gain public support in Minsk

MINSK, 25 March (BelTA) – The unauthorized street rally that took place in Minsk on 25 March has failed to gain public support, BelTA has learned.

The day before the street rally the city administration issued a warning that no street rallies had been authorized, this is why people, who would turn up for such rallies, would face administrative fines.

Despite the warning participants of the street rally gathered near the Academy of Sciences in Minsk at about 14:00. Police reminded those present about possible fines and told them to disperse. However, a small number of the rally participants decided to go along Nezavisimosti Avenue towards Yakub Kolas Square. Riot police units were employed to stop the traffic in Nezavisimosti Avenue out of safety considerations. Once again police used loudspeakers to tell those present the street rally had not been authorized, to remind them about responsibility for breaking the law, and to ask them to disperse. The number of rally participants decreased greatly after that. However, some of them decided to proceed towards Pobedy Square. The street rally ended soon after that.

Various mass media, including foreign ones, reported that the goals outlined by the street rally organizers the day before have failed to gain public support. Individual participants of the street rally went out of their way acting in a provoking manner in a bid to present a good picture for mass media consumption.

Street rallies also took place in the oblast capitals of Belarus on 25 March. The number of their participants was small. Literally dozens of people took to the streets. Representatives of municipal government agencies talked to participants of the street rallies in Brest, Gomel, and Vitebsk.

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