Belarusian Activists Fined For Mocking Police Statue In Minsk

MINSK -- Two Belarusian activists have been fined for mocking a statue of a tsarist-era policeman in Minsk.

A court in Minsk on December 3 found Syarhey Sparysh and Vyachaslau Kasinerau guilty of minor hooliganism and fined both $360.

Sparysh, Kasinerau, and four other activists were detained on December 2 after they laid a funeral wreath with the message "to the image of the Interior Ministry" at the statue in the Belarusian capital.

Last month, Minsk authorities forced a teenager to apologize to the statue after he was caught on camera playfully slapping it on the face, which sparked a series of flash mobs mocking the authorities' move to punish a 16-year-old student, identified as Arseniy.

The statue has been vandalized or used for political stunts several times since it was unveiled in March last year to mark the centenary of the Belarusian police.

In March 2017, Kasinerau was fined after he threw a hangman's noose over the statue to protest against police treatment of political protesters.

In March this year, members of a local lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) group were disciplined for placing a rainbow-colored pot of flowers beside the statue.