Sex shop moves into former location of evicted art center

An online sex shop's showroom opened on Sunday at the former location of Art Syadziba, a popular art center that has had to move to new addresses in Minsk every few months because of what is widely seen as pressure from authorities, according to the Belarusian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The art center vacated the premises on Instrumentalny Lane, owned by the Belarusian Society of Hunters and Anglers, this past May, after a months-long fight to stay at the location.

When the landlord notified Art Syadziba that their lease contract would be terminated, it said that the premises were needed to house a sewing shop.

However, the place remained vacant for months until the store selling erotic goods on the Internet moved in this past weekend.

"They found no other occupant and offered the place to us," said a sex shop manager. "We have erotic lingerie, special erotic goods on display here. We don't sell them here, this is a showroom. We deliver them by dispatch or by mail."

Art Syadziba, which seeks to popularize Belarusian culture and the Belarusian language, was evicted from six locations in two years. It says that all of its lease contracts were terminated by the landlords under orders from authorities. // BelaPAN