Minsk: Seven people fined for talking about Easter in the Street

Country: Belarus

Date of incident: April 15, 2023

On April 15, seven young men were fined for talking about Easter in a public street in the city centre of Minsk. The individuals, who were all Protestant, were approached by police and told that they were violating the law by "conducting missionary activities without a permit." The police fined each one about 2 months' average wages, reports Forum 18.

In a context in which the Belarusian authorities are increasingly tightening their restrictions on religious freedoms, seven young Protestants were arrested and fined for "conducting missionary activities without a permit" in the city centre of Minsk on April 15, the day before Orthodox Easter celebrations. What the young men were doing was standing with a wooden cross in the street near the Orthodox Holy Spirit Cathedral and talking about the meaning of Easter to interested passers-by.

Forum 18 reports that five of the arrested men belonged to Minsk's New Life Pentecostal Church, which has already been a target of persecution by the Belarusian authorities. The church commented on the incident via their Telegram channel by stating: "Unfortunately, the court did not take into account the arguments of the young people that they sincerely wanted to share the meaning of Easter with others, that public order was not violated, and that they shared their message with those who were interested."

On April 15 the Christian men were handcuffed, arrested and taken to the police station, where they were held for more than eight hours. Later, on 28 April, the Central District Court of Minsk found each one of the seven men individually guilty of violating Belarusian Administrative Code Article 24.23 (Violation of the procedure for organising or conducting a mass event or demonstration) and fined them between 90 and 100 base units, the maximum or almost the maximum possible fine under this article.


Source: Forum 18UDF.BYЗеркало. Новости;

Photo: Minsk, by Sergiy Galyonkin on Flickr