One-armed man arrested for clapping in Belarus

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English: President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko

English: President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It sounds absurd, and it is: this is the result of the authoritarian madness of Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko (pictured right). Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, imposed the anti-clapping measure in 2011:   

[...] [W]hen public protests broke out in 2011 over the collapsing economy, [Lukashenko] responded by having thousands arrested for whatever reason or no reason at all. Most of them, according to the Christian Science Monitor, "were fined heavily or jailed for up to 15 days on police court testimony that they were expressing a political opinion by clapping their hands." Activists and protesters there had adopted applause as a symbol of protest, which is brilliant because now that clapping has been associated with dissent, the regime reportedly has had to forbid it at its own events, such as traditional military parades, which must parade along silently. Authoritarian regimes rely heavily on forcing people to play along, and now forced applause is not an option.

The regime, this journalist continues, was "not too particular about who it arrested," rounding up even Konstantin Kaplin, "who said he was convicted of 'applauding in public' despite fairly conclusive evidence of innocence: he's only got one arm."

Check out the original article here.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard published on January 8, 2013 8:18 PM.

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