Belarus: From Raid to Ban in 12 Days
By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (email@example.com)
BELARUS (ANS. JUNE 23) On May 31, riot police in Belarus raided the Reformed Orthodox Transfiguration Church’s meeting for Sunday worship, held in rented premises in Gomel.
Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe.
According to a story by Felix Corley for Forum 18 News Service, church members said on June 11 officials forbid the Church from renting a building, thereby banning it from meeting.
Police asked them, “Why do you attend this church and not a normal one?”
Officials warned congregation leader Pastor Sergei Nikolaenko – who is already facing trial on Administrative Code charges – that he would be investigated on possible Criminal Code charges.
“You can watch a football match or discuss (the poet Aleksandr) Pushkin without permission, but for a religious meeting you need permission,” Dmitry Chumakov, the official in charge of religious affairs at Gomel Regional Executive Committee told Forum 18.
Two weeks earlier there was a similar armed police raid on the Soligorsk congregation of Council of Churches Baptists.
“Eleven more armed police arrived and broke up the service, as if they were coming after bandits,” Forum 18 was told.
Two congregation members were fined in early June for meeting for worship without state permission.
For more information visit www.forum18.org
Photo captions: 1) Belarus Police questioning Belarus Christians at another church. 2) Jeremy Reynalds.
About the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is “From Destitute to Ph.D.” Additional details on “From Destitute to Ph.D.” are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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