MINSK -- Leaders of the Belarusian Popular Front party (BNF) have officially asked Minsk authorities for permission to hold a mass gathering on March 25 to mark the 91st anniversary of the Belarusian People's Republic, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.
The opposition marks March 25 each year as Freedom Day, in recognition of the first declaration of an independent Belarus.
BNF Chairman Lyavon Barshchevski told RFE/RL that this year demonstrators would also focus on social issues because of the deepening economic crisis.
BNF Deputy Chairman Vintsuk Vyachorka told RFE/RL that the protest's major goal will remain preserving Belarus's independence.
Vyachorka said the current Belarusian leadership continues to make the country dependent on Moscow.
The Belarusian People's Republic existed for just 10 months before falling under the control of the Bolsheviks and the Red Army.