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More Than 1,000 Protest In Belarus's Brest Against 'Parasites' Tax

  • RFE/RL's Belarus Service

More than a thousand people turned out to protest against a law that obliges nonworking people to pay a tax.

More than 1,000 demonstrators came out in the Belarusian city of Brest on March 5 to protest against a law on "social parasitism" that obliges nonworking people to pay a tax.

While chanting against the legislation, the crowd also called on President Alyaksandr Lukashenka "to go away," as they marched across the city's central streets.

A correspondent with RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports that a group of anarchists were also present at the peaceful protest.

The law, which is reminiscent of Soviet-era legislation, is aimed at combating what Lukashenka has called "social parasitism."

It imposes a special tax -- equivalent to more than 200 U.S. dollars -- upon Belarusians who work less than half of a calendar year and do not sign up at the country's labor bureaus.

The law exempts registered job-seekers, homemakers, subsistence farmers, and those working in Russia.

Lukashenka has ruled Belarus for more than two decades, quashing political opposition, civil society groups, independent media, and other forms of dissent.

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