Belarus bans applause – clapping demos as country on edge of economic collapse

The country most likely to default first in 2011 is not Greece but Bealrus.  With debts of over $30 billion, a hard-line president refusing to reform and fix ing lections, and Russia even temporarily cutting of the gas after its bills weren’t paid last week.  In this climate demos are banned so, as Moscow News reports:

Minsk has hit back by banning applause in public.

With the country due to celebrate Independence Day on July 3, it means that clapping on the streets could see people clapped in metaphorical irons.

But there is a serious side to the government’s proposals: opposition groups have been staging slogan-free demonstrations where participants merely stand and cheer, rather than yelling their demands.

The police promise to allow applause on the street at July 3 celebrations, but only if it is directed at acting servicemen and veterans, deputy head of Minsk police Igor Yevseyev said at a press conference.

“If it is applause for our veterans or servicemen – then of course, it is allowed,” he is quoted by Interfax.

Yevseyev was asked how the police will react if there is applause on Oktyabrskaya Ploshchad on July, 3rd, Belarus Independence Day.

That day there will be two events in Minsk – a parade to celebrate 20th anniversary of independence, and other celebrations.

Following numerous arrests of protestors, they had to come up with new tactics. The latest includes no chants or posters. The participants of “Revolution through social networks” just go to the streets every Wednesday, stay silent, and occasionally applaud.

But that has still incurred official wrath: thousands gathered on June 22, and there were dozens of arrests.

The opposition, however, is staging a “March of the millions” event, where it plans to protest against president Alexander Lukashenko.

 

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