Small business activist Shumchanka jailed


Small business activist Anatol Shumchanka was sentenced to five days in jail on Thursday, the day when market vendors across Belarus staged a walkout in protest against the Customs Union's new certification rules for clothing and footwear.

The leader of the Perspektyva association, which had co-organized the strike, was found guilty of violating the Civil Offenses Code by a judge of the Tsentralny District Court in Minsk. It was not immediately known what offense he had been charged with, his wife told BelaPAN.

Mr. Shumchanka was expected to be brought to the detention center on Akrestsina Street to serve his sentence.
The activist was arrested by police on his way from the Zhdanovichy market, where he had met with striking vendors and local government officials.

Perspektyva activists were promised by the economy ministry's representatives on June 27 that the ministry would call for changes to be made to a draft government directive streamlining the conditions of having goods certified as compliant with the Customs Union's health standards for market vendors.

Perspektyva member Vyachaslaw Pilipuk warned after Mr. Shumchanka's arrest that his jailing could lead to more strikes by market vendors. //BelaPAN