Schoolchildren prohibited from clapping during end-of-harvest festival in Zhlobin
Schoolchildren had been prohibited from clapping during a parade held in Zhlobin on Friday afternoon within the framework of an annual national end-of-harvest festival called Dazhynki 2013.
During the traditional procession of the winners of a national harvesting contest, the children who greeted participants from sidewalks wore red-green jackets, waved small red-white flags but did not applaud, reported news website gazetaby.com.
General education schools in Zhlobin, a city of 75,000 residents, have been closed starting Thursday for special-task and riot police officers to live in the empty classrooms.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka is expected to be present at Dazhynki on Saturday.
On September 12, Mr. Lukashenka and the Belarusian police force were announced as Ig Nobel Prize winners at a ceremony at Harvard University’s Sanders Theater in the American city of Cambridge.
According to the website of the scientific humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research, the organizer of the Ig Nobel Prizes event, the Ig Nobel Peace Prize went to Mr. Lukashenka “for making it illegal to applaud in public, AND to the Belarus State Police, for arresting a one-armed man for applauding.”
Hundreds of people were arrested in Belarus in the summer of 2011 for merely clapping their hands to display their anger at Mr. Lukashenka’s policies. Most of them were heavily fined or jailed for up to 15 days on police court testimony that they were expressing a political opinion by clapping their hands in public.
Kanstantsin Kaplin, an unemployed man resident in Hrodna, was convicted of applauding in public and fined the equivalent of $200, despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence. He is officially registered as a disabled person and has only one arm.