Seventy percent of market vendors said to be on strike


Some 70 percent of vendors who sell clothing and footwear at markets and shopping centers across Belarus walked off the job on Thursday in protest against the introduction of the Customs Union's new certification rules, said Anatol Zmitrovich, a representative of the National Enterprise Confederation.

The one-day strike was joined by vendors in dozens of cities. Clothing stalls were closed at the Zhdanovichy market and the Parking shopping center in Minsk.

Mr. Zmitrovich said that the striking vendors could expand their protest and stop paying taxes on July 1.

The activist condemned the arrest of Anatol Shumchanka, leader of the Perspektyva small business association that had co-organized the walkout.

Mr. Shumchanka missed small business activists' meeting with Alyaksandr Hruzdaw, director of the economy ministry's Enterprise Department, which was expected to focus on the rules and ways of changing them or postponing their introduction.
"He [Shumchanka] must be released in the near future as the meeting at the economy ministry would be illegitimate [without his presence]," he said. //BelaPAN