Belarussian motorists protest petrol price hikes.

22/7 Tass 435

MINSK, July 22 (Itar-Tass) —— Despite threats of criminal persecution Belarussian motorists held the Stop Petrol action in downtown Minsk late on Thursday protesting against announced petrol price hikes.

However police interfered in advance blocking Independence Avenue and forcing motorists into side streets.

The motorists carried white ribbons and beeped while passers-by welcomed them with applause. They also switched on the songs by banned Belarussian and Russian singers, particularly We want Change by Viktor Tsoi.

Eye witnesses estimated a hundred cars participated in the action.

Numerous plain clothed policemen lined up along the sidewalks of Independence Avenue and crowded Victory Square. They recorded the protesting cars on video and checked IDs of journalists covering the event. They later departed in buses carrying no license plates.

Minsk authorities warned earlier in the day the planned protest action was unlawful and may result both in administrative and criminal responsibility.

A similar protest was held in June after petrol process hiked 31 percent. Over 1500 motorists blocked Independence Avenue and Victory Square. Next day President Alexander Lukashenko ordered to decrease petrol process.

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