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Belarusian Market Vendors To Protest Union Leader's Jail Sentence

MINSK -- Vendors at Minsk's Zdanovichy market have announced a plan to protest the jail sentence given to the chairman of the Perspektiva public union over a one-day retailers' strike.

Anatol Shumchanka was sentenced on to five days in jail for "organization of an unsanctioned gathering."

Many entrepreneurs across Belarus participated in the June 27 strike, demanding that the government quit the Customs Union, which includes Kazakhstan and Russia.

Market vendor organizers told RFE/RL's Belarus Service they will stop paying taxes if the Customs Union's new product quality certification requirements, which they call cumbersome and costly, are not rescinded.

The new rules are scheduled to take effect on July 1.

The Customs Union, meant to ease trade between the three members, was launched in 2010.

Moscow says the goal is to create a Eurasian economic union modeled after the European Union.
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    RFE/RL's Belarus Service

    RFE/RL's Belarus Service is one of the leading providers of news and analysis to Belarusian audiences in their own language. It is a bulwark against pervasive Russian propaganda and defies the government’s virtual monopoly on domestic broadcast media.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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