2017 Belarusian protests

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2017 Belarusian protests
Part of the Belarusian democracy movement
Belarus protest.jpg
Independence Avenue in Minsk, blocked by riot police
(25 March 2017)
Date17 February 2017[1] – c. 1 May 2017
Beginning in Minsk, spreading through Belarus, including Gomel, Mogilev, Vitebsk, Grodno and Brest.
Caused by
  • Taxation on the unemployed (Decree No. 3)
  • Economic and social policies of the government
Suspension and cancellation of Decree No. 3
Parties to the civil conflict
5000 protesters (At highest point)
Total number estimated 25,000–40,000

The 2017 Belarusian protests were a series of demonstrations and street protests against President Alexander Lukashenko that broke out in late February 2017. Protesters mobilized against a tax levied against the unemployed in Belarus. Demonstrations and marches were held in sites throughout the country with sizes of several hundred to several thousand gathering at a given time.


Belarus has been described for several years as Europe's "last dictatorship" with no genuine political opposition against Lukashenko possible.[4] Previous protests in 2011 and 2015 resulted in mass arrests. The country has also been in an economic recession since 2015 due to falling gasoline prices and that year a law was passed taxing the unemployed.[1] Roughly 470,000 Belarusians are obliged to pay the tax but only about 10% have since it was issued.[1]


Approximately 2,500 protesters[5] filled the streets in capital city Minsk on 17 February to protest a policy that required those anyone who works for less than 183 days[6] per year to pay USD$250 for "lost taxes" to help fund welfare policies.[7] (This converts to approximately p.5 million—a half-month's wages.)[1] The law has proven unpopular and has been mocked in the public as the "law against social parasites".[1] On 19 February, another 2,000 demonstrated in the second city of Homieĺ.[7] Both gatherings were peaceful and were not disrupted by police. Smaller demonstrations were held in other cities.[5]

On 25 March, opposition leader Vladimir Nekliayev, who was set to speak at the main protest, was also stopped at the border in the morning on his way to Minsk, his wife said.[8]

The government defended the mass arrests and beatings against citizens by alleging that the police had found "petrol bombs and arms-laden cars" near a protest in Minsk.[9]

Timeline of the events[edit]

19 February[edit]

26 February[edit]

  • Brest – a rally, about 300 participants.
  • Baranovichi – a rally, about 300 participants.
  • Babruysk – gathered about 1,500 protesters.[15]
  • Vitebsk – more than 2,000[citation needed] protesters gathered near Pieramohi Square. This is significantly more than last week's stock. After half an hour, protesters rallying the Pieramohi moved towards Svabody Square (the Liberation Square), where the city executive committee and the regional executive committee are located. A group of provocateurs[who?] with closed faces shouted "Glory of Russia" on Svabody Square, but people did not support them, and provocateurs left the action.[citation needed] After a small rally, the protest rally ended.

5 March[edit]

  • Brest – Rally and procession from 1,000 to 2,000 people.[16]

The mayor of Brest met with the protesters.

10 March[edit]

  • Maladzyechna – a rally in the Central Square, speeches, the adoption of a resolution and the procession to the tax service. The number of people gathered from 500 to 1,000 people.

After the rally, the organizers received 15 days of arrest[17]

11 March[edit]

  • In Pinsk 350 to 400 people gathered in the square.[18]

12 March[edit]

  • Brest – on the square came out 200 people [19]
  • Babruysk – about 700 protesters gathered at Pieramohi square, the rally was spontaneous, none of the opposition leaders were present.[20][21][22]
  • Orsha the number of people gathered exceeded 1,000 people. Before the rally, journalists were detained to check documents [23]
  • Rahachow participants about 400. Liders at the rally was not. People discussed the current government and whether there is an alternative to it, complained about the lack of work.[24]

15 March[edit]

  • Mogilev – More than 500 residents of Mogilev went to protest [25]

To the protesting crowd came member of parliament Ihar Marzaliuk, five people arrested [26]

  • Minsk – From the cinema "Kastryčnik" to Banhalor Square and Družby narodaŭ Park passed from 1.5 to 4.5 thousand people, Protesters chant "Long Live Belarus!", "No to Decree No.3 – Lukashenka go away!"[25]

About 40 people were detained in Minsk.[27]

  • Grodno – The meeting began with 300 protesters[28] At the end of the protest on the square there were 1,000 protesters.[29][30]

25 March[edit]

Minsk, Kartryčnickaja plošča, 17 February
  • Minsk – Several thousand people went to protest[31]

1 May[edit]

  • Minsk – 400 people came to a banned protests despite the jailing of Mikola Statkevich, opposition leader and main organizer of the event.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Makhovsky, Andrei (17 February 2017). "Thousands of Belarussians Take to the Streets to Protest 'Parasite Law'". Reuters.
  2. ^ Rudnik, Alesia (17 March 2017). "Anarchists, the avangarde of social protests in Belarus". Belarus Digest.
  3. ^ Cпіс ахвяраў пераследу за акцыі грамадзянскага і сацыяльнага пратэсту: на 27 сакавіка – больш за 700 чалавек
  4. ^ Andrew Osborn (20 December 2010). "Alexander Lukashenko: 'Europe's Last Dictator'". The Daily Telegraph. London: Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Spate of Protests Breaks Out in Belarus". Associated Press. 19 February 2017.
  6. ^ Andrei Sannikov (15 March 2017). "'We are not slaves': Europe's most repressive state is reawakening". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  7. ^ a b Makhovsky, Andrei (19 February 2017). "Belarus Tax Protests Spread Beyond Capital". Reuters.
  8. ^ "Scores detained after defying Belarus protest ban". Al Jazeera.
  9. ^ "Belarus Protests: Government Defends Mass Arrests". BBC. 26 March 2017.
  10. ^ "В Бресте активисты кампании "За наш город" провели акцию за отмену декрета "о тунеядцах"". News.tut.by. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  11. ^ Артем А. Кобзев (19 February 2017). "В Белоруссии прошли массовые протесты против "декрета о тунеядстве": Белоруссия: Бывший СССР". Lenta.ru. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  12. ^ "UPD."Марш рассерженных белорусов": в Гродно на акции против декрета о тунеядцах собралось несколько десятков человек". 015.by. Archived from the original on 22 February 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  13. ^ ""Ситуация касается каждой семьи". Около 250 витеблян протестовали против налога на тунеядство". News.tut.by. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  14. ^ "В областных центрах Беларуси прошли митинги против налога на тунеядство — Барановичи. Intex-press — Новости Барановичского региона". Intex-press.by. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  15. ^ "Тысячи людей вышли на улицы в Витебске и Бобруйске". Наша Ніва (in Russian). Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  16. ^ "В Бресте проходит акция против налога на "тунеядство" – РИА Новости, 05.03.2017". Ria.ru. 5 March 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  17. ^ "Лебедько, Рымашевский и Губаревич получили по 15 суток за организацию "Марша нетунеядцев"". News.tut.by. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  18. ^ "В Пинске на "Марш нетунеядцев" собралось более 400 человек :: Сильные Новости — Гомель сегодня". Gomel.today. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  19. ^ "В регионах снова прошли "Марши нетунеядцев". Не обошлось без задержаний". News.tut.by. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  20. ^ "В Бобруйске среди ночи милиция задержала четырех человек". Belaruspartisan.org. Archived from the original on 13 March 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  21. ^ Радыё Свабода (12 March 2017). "В Бобруйске проходит "Марш нетунеядцев"". Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  22. ^ Charter97.org (12 March 2017). "Жители Бобруйска: "Лукашенко, уходи! Нет тебе больше места среди народа!"". Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  23. ^ "Выступы за адмену дэкрэта №3 перараслі ў дэманстрацыі за адстаўку Лукашэнкі: 18 чалавек затрымана ў Оршы". Nn.by. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  24. ^ Новости. "В регионах снова прошли "Марши нетунеядцев". Не обошлось без задержаний". News.tut.by. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  25. ^ a b "Жители Могилева вышли на улицы (Видео, онлайн) – Хартыя'97 :: Навіны з Беларусі – Беларускія навіны – Рэспубліка Беларусь – Мінск". Charter97.org. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  26. ^ "В Могилеве прошел "Марш нетунеядцев", к собравшимся вышел депутат Марзалюк". News.tut.by. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  27. ^ "После "Маршей нетунеядцев" в Минске, Гродно и Могилеве прошли задержания". News.tut.by. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  28. ^ "In Grodno around 300 people for "Not Parasites" march – Belarus, Minsk, Lukashenko, News of Belarus, Live Map of Belarus". Belarus.liveuamap.com. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  29. ^ "Гродненчане вышли на марш протеста (видео, онлайн) – Хартыя'97 :: Навіны з Беларусі – Беларускія навіны – Рэспубліка Беларусь – Мінск". Charter97.org. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  30. ^ "UPD."Марш рассерженных белорусов": в Гродно на акции против декрета о тунеядцах собралось несколько десятков человек". 015.by. Archived from the original on 22 February 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  31. ^ "Hundreds Of People Detained In Minsk". Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  32. ^ https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/belarus-protest-draws-400-main-organizers-arrest-47131120