News / 17.03.17

"Authorities only are to blame for crowds of people out in streets"

This was stated today, on March 17, at the court session by Gennady Fedynich, the Chairman of the REP Trade Union.

Chairman of the REP Trade Union Gennady Fedynich (right) and the trade union lawyer Yuri Belyakov during the court session on March 17, 2017

The union leader was tried for participation in the "March of Angry Belarusians" held in Minsk on February 17, and for a repeated violation of the law "On Mass Events".

Gennady Fedynich refused to plead guilty. He explained that he came to the action, because he could not do otherwise – the trade union has collected more than 45 thousand signatures against Ordinance No. 3; and many of those, who applied for help to the trade union and signed the appeal, were in that square on that evening.

"I told the judge: how could I not go? Of course, I was consciously there. There were unemployed people there, who occurred in a difficult situation; they turned to our trade union for help. If I had not come there, I would have resigned from the post of the trade union leader.

According to Gennady Fedynich, the court session was run democratically.

"The judge allowed speaking me and my defence. That was not the case in regions, where they interrupted people and did not give a chance to say a word. I said that people would go out, even if all the oppositionists were put in jail. Only the authorities are to blame that people go out into the streets. And now, already not the ordinance is on the agenda, but quite different things – socio-economic, and, maybe, even political demands. Because today not party members take part in rallies, but ordinary workers, who do not know not only what will happen to them in a year, but how to feed their children tomorrow. And if nothing is done about this, and the authorities are doing nothing, then the time will come, when the prisoner’s box, where they are putting now us, will contain those, who are responsible for the situation in the country," said the trade union leader.

At the trial of Fedynich, there was only one witness – Anton Yurevich, a militia employee of the Minsk City Executive Committee. He said that the trade union leader delivered a speech at the rally, was in the centre, next to Nikolai Statkevich and Vladimir Neklyaev, and shouted the slogan "Long Live Belarus!" He also communicated with citizens, the witness said, but was unable to specify what Mr Fedynich was talking to people about. When asked by the advocate, why he, a militiaman, while at service, was in civilian clothes, the young man replied that the dress code is defined by his bosses.

Victoria Shabunya, a Judge of the Tsentralny District Court of Minsk, found Gennady Fedynich guilty and fined him by 50 basic units.

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