Opposition aspires to join forces to strengthen control and predictability of protest movement

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April 10, 2017 12:39
Image: bnp.by

Belarusian opposition parties are strengthening coordination in response to enhanced pressure by the authorities</em><em>. The opposition has relaxed rhetoric towards the Belarusian leadership and demonstratively refused from unauthorised street activity. The authorities are likely to sanction the Chernobyl Path, a traditional opposition rally, but would restrict the opposition activity on the May Day in order to divorce the political agenda and socio-economic demands of the population.

The opposition applied to the Minsk City Executive Committee for an authorisation to hold Chernobyl Path, a traditional rally on April 26th.

In preparation for the Chernobyl Path, a traditional opposition rally, and the May Day Solidarity March, the opposition has formed a broad alliance, including political organizations and independent trade unions. Meanwhile, the enlargement of the coalition has led to enhanced tension between the Belarusian National Congress and Tell the Truth, which is likely to lead to some members leaving the coalition. The parties aim to return socio-economic issues to the agenda by focusing on preparations for the May Day events.

However, it is unlikely that the opposition's calls for a national strike would gain popularity among the workers' movement and would materialise. That said, the authorities are making additional efforts to ensure full employment and strengthen loyalty of employees.

In addition, the Belarusian authorities managed to weaken the protest movement and reduce the influence of supporters of street protests led by Statkevich on the opposition agenda, including by discrediting the BNC leadership. Moreover, the authorities have prompted the opposition to focus on human rights violations, counteracting repression and reformatting opposition alliances, all of which drives it away from social demands of the population.

The Belarusian leadership is likely to preserve arbitrary approach to authorising public rallies; it would sanction the Chernobyl Path rally, which should be less popular among the population, and would restrict the opposition activity with socio-economic demands on May Day. The authorities are likely to localise the opposition activity on May Day and authorise some May Day demonstrations in some regional cities, however, would oppose to massive opposition-led events in Minsk.

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