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Hundreds Protest in Belarus in Support of Small Businessmen

  • Associated Press

Belarusians shout slogans during a rally in support of sole traders in the city center in Minsk, Belarus, Feb. 28, 2016.

Belarusians shout slogans during a rally in support of sole traders in the city center in Minsk, Belarus, Feb. 28, 2016.

More than 500 people have marched through the capital of Belarus to demand that the government scrap new requirements for small private businessmen that they say impose an unfair burden.

Sunday's demonstration in Minsk was the largest protest in recent years in the former Soviet republic, where the authoritarian government has shown little tolerance for dissent. Police, however, did not interfere and the march ended peacefully.

The Belarusian government this year began requiring small private businesses to obtain certificates guaranteeing the quality of their products. Businessmen say the certificates cost far more than similar certificates in Europe and take weeks to obtain.

The measure appears to be part of government efforts to increase budget revenues amid an economic crisis.

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