Protests in Minsk and Brest subsided; the opposition lobbied hearings on Belarus in the Polish Sejm
Despite enhanced repressions by the authorities, civil society and the opposition continued to protest against the restaurant near the Kurapaty mass-murder historical site and against the construction of a battery plant near Brest. The opposition leaders are attempting to reinforce their positions in the Belarusian-European dialogue by participating in the hearing on Belarus in the Polish Sejm.
Due to administrative arrests of protest leaders and heavy fines imposed on activists, the protest movement has subsided and civil society’s mobilisation capacity for staging protests near Kurapaty site has weakened. Parties are no longer able to ensure the daily presence of activists near the restaurant in Kurapaty.
Nevertheless, despite the summer holiday season and efforts undertaken by the authorities, the latter have been unable to neutralize the ongoing protests against the construction of a battery plant in Brest. Most recently, some 30 activists protested against the involvement of Brest judges in the proceedings against the opponents of the plant construction.
The opposition is attempting to retain its influence on the Belarusian-European agenda. The delegation of Belarusian opposition politicians participated in the hearings in the Polish Sejm on the socio-political situation in Belarus, which condemned the arrests of Belarusian political activists. In addition, the centre-rightists signed a cooperation agreement with the Polish Civic Platform.
Tell The Truth continued to recruit supporters among those discontent with the authorities’ policies and to promote reforms. Deceived investors appealed to the Tell The Truth leaders requesting their assistance and mediation in a dialogue with the authorities to resolve the issue.
Statkevich-led Belarusian National Committee attempted to stage a political protest in the Minsk centre in solidarity with the REP trade union, demanding their release, however to no avail.
Due to a terrorist attack ten years ago during the Independence Day celebrations, law enforcers traditionally were more alert and uncompromising towards unauthorized activity on Independence Day, which predetermined detentions. Apparently, with its protest action, the BNC aimed to keep its activists alert and alive and to create a media effect, while other political parties focused on the protection of Kurapaty and society showed no signs of growing discontent.
Civil society and the opposition are unlikely to be able to give momentum to the protest movement this summer. After the UCP leadership elections, the centre-rightists are likely to resume negotiations about a single presidential candidate from the coalition. Tell The Truth is likely to continue to communicate with social groups discontent with the existing social and economic policies.