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Belarusians Protest 'Parasite Tax' In Vitsebsk

More than 1,000 people rallied on February 26 in the Belarusian city of Vitsebsk to protest what the government is calling a "Law Against Social Parasites." The law 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 protesters in Vitsebsk marched through the city and staged a rally on the central Freedom Square. Other cities where demonstrations were held on February 26 included Babruysk, Berastse, and Baranavichy. The protests were a rare sign of political dissent in the tightly controlled former Soviet republic. (RFE/RL's Belarusian Service)