Protesters will now be punished even more severely; an independent news agency was searched; diasporas started pickets at the offices of the sponsors of the World Ice Hockey Championship; participating in a video recording could land you in jail; outstanding scientists are fired from the Academy of Sciences of Belarus
14 January 2021 | BYHelp-Mediagroup
Authorities are intensifying punishments for protesters, and a white-red-white flag is now legally punishable by a fine and arrest
Legislative acts, which toughen administrative punishment for those who express their disagreement with the current government, have been signed. For example, the fine for participation in an illegal mass event is now several times higher than before, there will be a new punishment in the form of community service, “disobedience” will now be punished with a fine of up to 100 basic units (900 euros), and the fine for insulting law enforcement officers – up to 200 basic units (1,800 euros).
In addition, the authorities suddenly announced that “the document provides liability for the use of prohibited symbols. For a flag on a balcony, for example, there will be a fine of up to 580 rubles (180 euros)”. As you might guess, we are talking about white-red-white flags. Although the flag is not exactly prohibited.
However, the Speaker of the Upper House of Parliament Natallia Kachanava is sure that the adopted norm refers to the white-red-white flag:
“We have official state symbols, and everything else is illegal. White-red-white flags, of course, will fall in the illegal category. Displaying them is strictly prohibited.”
The changes are planned to take effect starting 1 March. As you can see, legislation in Belarus is being rewritten to meet the specific needs of Lukashenko, henceforth the “laws” will become even more cruel and aimed at any suppression of peaceful protest.
Beatings, arrest, criminal charges and denied accreditations – That’s what you get for being an independent media journalist
Unprecedented pressure on independent media continues in Belarus.
Thus, on 14 January, a search was carried out in the office of the BelaPAN news agency. The search lasted three hours, lawyer Siarhei Zikratsky was not allowed into the office, and as a result several pieces of equipment were seized.
It also became known that printing houses in different cities of Belarus refuse to print issues of the independent “Brestskaya Gazeta”, and from February the Belarusian-language newspaper “Novy Chas” will not be sold in state regulated “Belsoyuzpechat” kiosks. Now it can only be obtained by subscription. “Belsoyuzpechat” did not comment on the termination of cooperation.
Today, the independent media recorded a video message in which they talked about the conditions in which they have had to work since mid-2020.
Journalists are beaten, arrested, given criminal charges and denied accreditations.
#DontPlayWithDictator and #ReneFaselsupportsmurderer: the results of Rene Fasel’s trip to Minsk
After statements from all parties and publications in the press, one can admit that Rene Fasel’s desire to come to an agreement with Lukashenko during his recent visit to Minsk was a complete disaster for the IIHF president. The final decision regarding the venue of the IIHF Championship will be announced on 27 January, but for now the topic of hockey is not even close to leaving the front pages.
Many began to write appeals about the transfer of the World Ice Hockey Championship from Minsk on social media in hopes of persuading the main sponsors of the sport event.
So, in response to an instagram story of the razam.hamburg group with an appeal to ŠKODA AUTO, as one of the main sponsors of the 2021 World Hockey Championship, the company sent a reply:
“We at ŠKODA AUTO are huge fans of ice hockey. As such, we’ve proudly partnered with the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship for a consecutive 28 years. Ultimately, the location of the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships is always the decision of the IIHF, who are an independent body and who we expect will make a clear and wise decision given the current circumstances in Belarus shortly.
“We’re following closely and with concern the latest developments in Belarus. Let us make one thing clear: ŠKODA takes its corporate human rights responsibilities seriously and stands for open interaction based on equality. We respect, protect and promote all regulations in force to protect human rights as a fundamental and general requirement throughout the world – today and in the future.”
In addition, on 14 January, the RAZAM.CH association organized a peaceful meeting at the IIHF headquarters in Zurich under the slogans #DontPlayWithDictator and #ReneFaselsupportsmurderer.
“We urge the IIHF to move the sport event to an alternative and safer location. Only this measure will allow to maintain a good reputation of the political neutrality of the Ice Hockey Federation and Switzerland in particular,” the association stated.
An action of protest against the World Ice Hockey Championship in Minsk took place in Austria as well.
Over 800 Belarusian scientists signed a letter in support of their colleagues who were fired from the Academy of Sciences
The reason for the letter was the non-extension of contracts at the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences for a whole group of highly qualified scientists who take the most active part in the work of the trade union (which strongly defends the rights of employees).
“We are especially concerned by the fact that a number of employees, including those of The Institute of History and The Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry, were informed about their employment termination shortly after their providing independent expertise on the most topical issues in Belarusian society,” the letter says.
Those who signed the letter note that repressions against professionals performing their direct duties are unacceptable. Moreover, all the victims are highly qualified, have many publications, patents and a solid reputation in the international scientific field.
“Picketing using the Internet”: Civil aviation officers are tried for an anti-violence video
Civil aviation workers are on trial in Minsk for speaking out against violence and lawlessness in a video recording.
“We are not drug addicts, alcoholics and not a Polish fake. We are citizens of Belarus and we want to live in a free and law-governed state, where the law and human rights are observed, where equal election campaigns and fair transparent elections are held,” Belavia and Minsk National Airport employees said in their video.
The protocols say that this is an unauthorized picket, even the wording “Picketing using the Internet” was used. Trials are taking place. Two people have already received 15 days in jail, five more received fines, one case was sent for revision.
All the participants in the video do not expect their work contracts to be extended, and some of them have already been fired.
For more information on the events of 14 January 2021, please visit Infocenter Free Belarus 2020: