Authorities ban May Day events planned by independent trade unions in Soligorsk and Mikashevichi
In several cities of Belarus, the mass events planned by independent trade unions failed. In Soligorsk, the event was banned under the pretext of the mite danger!
"We were waiting for our May Day rally in Mikashevichi with great anxiety," Oleg Stakhaevich, the chair of the primary organization of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BNP) at the Republic's Unitary Production Enterprise (RUPE) "Granit", told the "Salidarnasts". "At least one thousand would have surely come to the event. Many did not even know that the authorities had banned it – they were surprised to see today the abundance of special troops in the city center.
According to trade union leader, the pro-governmental Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FPB) was holding some actions in Mikashevichi, while they organized cleaning in the park.
"People are forced to take part in these official actions; special troops were deployed for some reason; the road police have blocked the entrance to the city and check the cars," the source described the situation on May 1 in Mikashevichi. "We are now heading to Soligorsk to celebrate May Day there, among our comrades.
According to Alexander Yaroshuk, the leader of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP), the prohibition practice on the May Day has become normal in Belarus.
"For the first time they have forbidden May Day events not only in Mikashevichi, but also in Soligorsk," said the leader of the BKDP. "In the evening, right on the eve, the Free Trade Union of Miners (SPG) was prohibited to hold the action under the pretext of high activeness of mites. The people just wanted to get together with families and to arrange sporting events. It was not a political action. Several hundreds of people were ready to take part; but, as a result, nobody took the interests of these people into account. This attitude characterizes the position of the authorities in respect of the independent trade union movement. Officials fear any initiative that they can't control," summed up the union leader.
Action of independent trade unions on May 1, 2008, in Bangalore Square
Meanwhile, the FPB was officially allowed to mark the International Workers' Solidarity Day. The official rally with participation of FPB leaders and power officials began at midday in the Yanka Kupala Park in Minsk. Then, a three-hour-long concert with variety artists was planned. Mass celebrations will be organized in the Gorky Central Children's Park, and in the Parks of the 50th Anniversary of October and Nations' Friendship, the BelaPAN reports.
The Minsk City Executive Committee banned the oppositional rally in the Nations' Friendship Park because of the official festivities scheduled there.