UK News (Europe) – VOA – AP.
MINSK – Hundreds Protest in Belarus in Support of Small Businessmen.
More than 500 people have marched through the capital of Belarus to demand that the government scrap new requirements for small private businessmen that they say impose an unfair burden.
Sunday’s demonstration in Minsk was the largest protest in recent years in the former Soviet republic, where the authoritarian government has shown little tolerance for dissent. Police, however, did not interfere and the march ended peacefully.
The Belarusian government this year began requiring small private businesses to obtain certificates guaranteeing the quality of their products. Businessmen say the certificates cost far more than similar certificates in Europe and take weeks to obtain.
The measure appears to be part of government efforts to increase budget revenues amid an economic crisis.
The Associated Press quoted Minsk businessman Ales Makayev as saying “why do these certificates cost 5 euros in Europe and in Belarus we need to pay $200 or $100 and spend 20 days to get them?”
The regulation appears to be part of government efforts to increase budget revenues amid an economic crisis in Belarus.
The country’s economy contracted 4 percent last year and the currency has fallen 40 percent since the beginning of 2015.
Minsk to ask International Monetary Fund for a loan of $3 billion.
Getty images – AP.