Civil society has focused on solidarizing with the repressed; non-political protests prompt authorities to respond
By Zmicier Kuchlej
In response to mounted repressions by the authorities, civil society generates initiatives to support the repressed and those who lost their jobs due to repressions. Protesters are attempting to use the election campaign to advance their issues: a local referendum in Brest regarding the battery plant, relaxing criminal liability for drug-related crimes by Mothers 328 movement, and promoting the amnesty for corruption crimes.
Human rights activists have expanded the list of political prisoners to 26 individuals, including Pavel Sevyarynets and Siarhei Sparysh, Babaryka’s assistants Elena Karagacheva and Dzmitry Karako. Human rights activists and several civil society organizations issued a joint statement last week, protesting against the political persecution and detention of Pavel Sevyarynets.
Volunteers from the IT sector have launched a ByChange initiative to support those who have lost their jobs due to government repression. The platform facilitates communication between employers and those who need help.
Political organizations and the diaspora continued to spotlight Belarusian issues to their European partners. The situation in Belarus before the presidential elections was discussed in the European Parliament last week.
Some members of the Mothers 328 movement have announced plans to start a hunger strike demanding to liberalize the anti-drug legislation. It is worth noting that authorities managed to significantly reduce the activity and politicization of the Mothers 328 movement, and of “The Only Goal” initiative of relatives convicted for corruption who advocated for the adoption of the amnesty law in May 2020.
After the meeting with President Lukashenka, representatives of the public and opponents of the battery factory construction near Brest started preparations for a local referendum. Hence, protesters abandoned Sunday street protests held for over two years. Some 150 people have participated in the discussion about organizing a local referendum on the battery factory at the Brest City Executive Committee.
Overall, most high-profile protest movements have abandoned political plans amid some concessions by the authorities and partial fulfillment of their demands.