MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Local media in Belarus say about 3,000 people have demonstrated across the country against an unpopular new labor law that targets the unemployed.
The protests Sunday in four regional cities, which included an estimated 1,000-strong rally in the eastern city of Vitebsk, are a rare sign of dissent in the authoritarian former Soviet nation. No arrests were reported, although police in Belarus often crack down on unsanctioned rallies.
Many in Belarus are unhappy with a so-called “anti-sponging” law that forces citizens to pay the equivalent of $250 if they work less than half the year and do not register with nation’s labor exchanges.
More than 2,000 people protested against the law in the capital of Minsk earlier this month, the largest opposition gathering in Belarus in more than five years.
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