Opposition steps up struggle for political course
The organising committee of the Freedom Day celebration has failed to agree with Belarusian National Congress leader Nikolai Statkevich the rally format on March 25th, 2017. The opposition has stepped up struggle for leadership in fighting against decree No 3. Major rivals include the BNC initiators led by Statkevich and leaders of other opposition parties (UCP, BPF, BCD, For Freedom, Tell the Truth), who disagree about the tasks and responsibilities in the fight against the decree. Due to the lack of unified position among the opposition a week before the event, preparations for the rally unfold amid a negative information background, while the authorities step up repressions against the organisers and potential participants. All this may have a negative impact on the overall participation in the rally. In addition, the lack of clear agreements between opposition alliances could lead to unpredictable actions by protesters during the rally and a tough response by the law enforcement.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.