Updated at 21:04,23-03-2021

‘Non-freeloaders’ meet in all Belarusian regional centres


‘Non-freeloaders’ meet in all Belarusian regional centres
Photo: Radio Liberty
Actions in protest against the President’s decree No3 also known as 'freeloaders’ tax' were held in all Belarusian regional centres on February 19. Most people gathered in Homel (around 1000) and Mahilyou (around 500).

About a hundred protesters gathered in the centre of Brest, several dozens – in Viciebsk and Hrodna. Most of the present were ordinary citizens who had received ‘happiness letters’ from the tax authority.

Just like in Minsk, none of the actions was authorized by local authorities. Politicians and civil activists did not join ‘the meetings of non-freeloaders.' Only United Civil Party leader Anatol Lyabedzka attended the protest in Mahilyou.

A mass protest against the freeloaders’ tax was held in Minsk two days ago. Nobody was detained. The President’s Administration organized meetings with citizens to explain the functioning of the document.

President’s decree “On Prevention of Freeloading” was adopted on April 2, 2015. Able-bodied citizens who do not work officially for 183 days a year (excluding women on maternity leaves, mothers of preschool children and people working abroad and living outside Belarus for at least 6 months) have to pay the tax.

Tax inspectorates sent letters informing about the necessity to pay the freeloaders’ tax to 470 thousand citizens at the beginning of February. Only 46 thousand citizens have done it. The state spent about 376 thousand dollars to send the letters.

Many people were announced ‘freeloaders’ by mistake - most of them are Belarusian citizens working and living abroad.

It is necessary to pay the tax by February 20. Infringers may be fined 2-4 base amounts or be arrested and made to do public works.