Thousands of people in a number of Belarusian cities protested on Sunday the 26th of February against the “tax on parasitism”, introduced by presidential decree “to prevent social dependency”. According to BelaPAN’s report, the protest took place in Vitebsk, Babruysk, Baranavichi and Brest.
In the first two cities, a total of around 2000 people came out onto the streets. Roughly 300 people attended the protest in Baranavichi. Anatoly Lebedko, chairman of the United Civil Party of the opposition, took part in the protest. In Brest, about 250 people gathered at the central Lenin Square and initially chanted slogans in favor of repealing the decree, before moving towards the regional administrative building.
Similar protests have taken place in Minsk, Gomel, Grodno, and Mogilev. A number of participants then received subpoenas from the police because the large-scale events were not sanctioned by the local authorities.
Decree No. 3 to “prevent social dependency”, issued by Alexander Lukashenko on the 2nd of April 2015 and popularly known as the decree against spongers, applies to all inhabitants of Belarus (regardless of citizenship), provided they spend more than half of the year in Belarusian territory. The duty amounts to about 230 euros, and applies to Belarusian citizens who have not paid taxes for more than 183 calendar days during the year.