Belarus: Dozens Arrested Following Peaceful Protests
In response to authorities in Belarus detaining demonstrators peacefully protesting a tax on the unemployed, and also the commercial development of a mass grave of victims of Soviet purges during the 1930s, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The government of Belarus has detained or fined more than 75 protestors for exercising their right to peaceful protest,” said Marc Behrendt, director for Eurasia programs. “With arrests taking place with little or no due process in Mensk, Vorsha, Magileu, Maladzechna, Babruisk and other cities, authorities apparently want to silence all criticism of a presidential decree that requires the unemployed to pay a tax for being ‘social parasites.’ The government should also heed opposition to commercial development at the site of a mass grave in Kuropaty, where tens of thousands of people were killed during Soviet purges and terror campaigns.”
Belarus is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2017, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2016, and receives a democracy score of 6.64, on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2016.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.