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© RIA Novosti. Egor Eryomov

Belarus bans applause

by Evgeniya Chaykovskaya at 28/06/2011 18:12

 

Belarusian and Russian authorities are locked in a battle to determine who can ban the most fun things.

After the authorities in Russia’s Belgorod thought St Valentine’s Day and student theatre had to go, Minsk has hit back by banning applause in public.

With the country due to celebrate Independence Day on July 3, it means that clapping on the streets could see people clapped in metaphorical irons.

But there is a serious side to the government’s proposals: opposition groups have been staging slogan-free demonstrations where participants merely stand and cheer, rather than yelling their demands.

 

Cheer for veterans

The police promise to allow applause on the street at July 3 celebrations, but only if it is directed at acting servicemen and veterans, deputy head of Minsk police Igor Yevseyev said at a press conference.

“If it is applause for our veterans or servicemen – then of course, it is allowed,” he is quoted by Interfax.

Yevseyev was asked how the police will react if there is applause on Oktyabrskaya Ploshchad on July, 3rd, Belarus Independence Day.

That day there will be two events in Minsk – a parade to celebrate 20th anniversary of independence, and other celebrations.

 

Silence is still a protest

Following numerous arrests of protestors, they had to come up with new tactics. The latest includes no chants or posters. The participants of “Revolution through social networks” just go to the streets every Wednesday, stay silent, and occasionally applaud.

But that has still incurred official wrath: thousands gathered on June 22, and there were dozens of arrests.

Officials claim they know how to tell participants of illegal demonstrations from ordinary citizens.

“The crowd that blocks the way for people” is the demonstration, said head of order protection service Ivan Kubrakov.

 

More protests planned

The opposition, however, is staging a “March of the millions” event, where it plans to protest against president Alexander Lukashenko.

The protests will be illegal, as Yevseyev confirmed that all rallies on Oktyabrskaya Ploshchad have been banned.

 

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