REPORT: Spotlight on Belarus – On the Ground During the Protests
On the weekend of March 25 – 26, a wave of peaceful protests took place across Belarus that were met with mass arrests and police violence. Some eight hundred protesters were detained. Of these, 28 were criminally charged while the rest underwent administrative penal proceedings or were released without explanation.
The nationwide demonstrations which began in February stem from the introduction of the widely unpopular Presidential Decree on the “Prevention of Social Dependence” also known as the “law against social parasites” that penalises several categories of unemployed persons through the levying of taxes.
The protests, the largest seen in Belarus since the Presidential elections of 2010 has seen hundreds of journalists, civil society activists and political dissidents arrested and detained. Civil Rights Defenders was on the ground to monitor the crackdown. This report is compiled from first hand testimonies and observations of what transpired during these protests in late March:News and Reports.