Market vendors set to demonstrate against tough new rules

Perspektyva has applied to the Minsk City Executive Committee for permission to stage a demonstration on February 15 in protest against tough new rules for market vendors, Anatol Shumchanka, leader of the small business association...

 
Perspektyva has applied to the Minsk City Executive Committee for permission to stage a demonstration on February 15 in protest against tough new rules for market vendors, Anatol Shumchanka, leader of the small business association, said while opening a forum in Minsk on Monday.

The activist said that the demonstration was needed because authorities were reluctant to give ear to market vendors' complaints about Alyaksandr Lukashenka's Edict No. 222 that had paralyzed their business.

«We want to use all legal opportunities for solving our issues, want to act within the law in order to avoid being accused of anything,» he said.

«We note today the lack of talks at the level of the government, president, our businesses are de facto under the threat of ruin at this moment.»

Mr. Shumchanka said that the protest would take place in Nations' Friendship Park, the only venue in the Belarusian capital where demonstrations are allowed.

An estimated 1,500 market vendors gathered at Hotel Beijing for the forum to discuss ways to fight the edict, which bans traders from selling goods without accompanying documents and may force most stallholders to shut up shop.

Thousands of stallholders at markets and shopping centers across Belarus have kept their stalls shut since January 1, fearing huge penalties and confiscations of goods for their failure to comply with the edict.