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Election: 'Girl, you better do some work' - stories frorm signature collectors

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'Youth Bloc' at the elections to the House of Representatives / Facebook

Journalist Iryna Khalip who has been recently collecting signatures for her nomination to the House of Representatives, has told a strange and unpleasant story on Facebook:

"Today, a strange looking man approached our picket and asked strictly: "What, from the Jewish party?" And then he pushed his finger into the photo of Maksim Vinyarsky photo and added it: "Here, the only Slavic man among you, and you are all Jewish scum".

The collection of signatures started at the beginning of September, and the collectors already have a lot of similar stories. We have gathered the best ones for you.

 
Gestapo WRW-flag

Valer Byčkoūski from the "European Belarus" tells about the "war veteran" who called the white, red and white flag Gestapo.

"An old man wearing a tie came and asked me what country I represented. I said, "Belarus, of course". He asked me where the Belarusian flag is. I pointed to the WRW flag. He said it's not ours, that it's Gestapo, that he saw it at the front. I ask, how old he was. I hear in response "it's none of your business, punk". He also said something about "Europe has always strangled us", "No one will vote for you", "I'm just back from the meeting in the executive committee, you will not go through". And he went to the saleswomen to complain about me. Then he showed me the finger and went away, swearing".

Valer Byčkoūski / facebook.com

"Could you make sure innocent people don't get sentenced?"

Director Volha Mikalaychyk told Euroradio about the meeting with a schoolboy who asked her a very adult question:

"A schoolboy approaches the picket, a small one, maybe the second or third grade. Looking very neat. He asks why I am standing here. I told you that I am doing it to be able to solve problems so that your family could have a good job, a good holiday, so that grandparents could have a good pension and medical service. He stood there for another ten minutes, looking at us, thinking about something. And then he comes up and asks: "Could you make sure innocent people don't get sentenced?" I had tears in my eyes. Such a small child, but already faced with such a big problem".

The director also met some suspicious people who tried to provoke conflict. She thinks they are paid to do it and were specially sent. There is much more solidarity with picketers and signature collectors.

"In some houses, when you ring the doorbell and say that you collect signatures, they start yelling and making noise! Old and young, cats and dogs yell! "Why do we need all these deputies? They never did anything for us, we do not want this administration, we are against it!" And in this noise I am not even heard, they don't hear that we stand for an independent candidate, that we are also against the system, that we are the opposition. People have such strong emotions that sometimes it is impossible to stop them!"

 

A sandwich man gets 15-20 signatures per hour

Dzyanis Tsikhanenka, a former assistant to Deputy Hanna Kanapatskaya, uses time-tested technology to collect signatures: a sandwich man.

"We were the first to hang on a person advertising info, which had information about the collection of signatures. People reacted to it and paid attention to it, it turned out to collect 15-20 signatures per hour. And this is despite the fact that we had all the major people force making door-to-door rounds".

facebook.com/cihanenka

Otherwise, people's conversations didn't surprise the collectors. As Tsikhanenka says, everything was standard:

"Everything is as usual. Lukashenka's fans talk about Lukashenka, and the dissatisfied are expressing their opinion about the system. People just want to speak out and voice their opinion. But in general, everything was on the positive side".

At one of the points of signature collection there were also representatives of the BRYU, who collected signatures for their leader. According to Tsikhanenka, some passers-by approached the pro-governmental collectors and asked questions, and then went to the representatives of Hanna Kanapatskaya and expressed their dissatisfaction. First of all, they were unhappy that person from the BRYU who "did nothing in his life," is trying to become an MP.

 

"The worst illiterate person is a politically illiterate one".

Yuliya Haniseuskaya, a resident of Rechytsa, is surprised by people's indifference. The electorate in her district is even proud of the fact that they do not get involved in politics!

"People don't care about anything that happens outside the door of their apartments. But how proudly the people say that they are not interested in politics! They have shining eyes and a smile on their face. Politically illiterate person is so stupid that he is proud and inflates his breasts, saying that he hates politics and will not participate in elections in any way. And the worst illiterate person is a politically illiterate one.

Girl, you better do some work

Alana Hebremariam from the "Youth Bloc", who is running in the 98th district of Minsk, remembers the refusals she heard while collecting signatures:

"We met a policewoman who was in a hurry to get home to her child and asked her if she had to sign at all: "If not, then goodbye!" There was a funny case of a woman opening the door and almost immediately doing something like an express interview: "Are you sure you are a citizen of the Republic of Belarus? How old are you? How long have you been working? Girl, you better go do some work.

Alana Gebremariam / facebook.com/alana.mariam.71

The collection of signatures will continue until 7 October, and elections to the House of Representatives are scheduled for 17 November.