MINSK (Reuters) - Street protests against a tax on adults who are not in full-time work spread from Belarus’s capital Minsk to other towns on Sunday, local media reported.
Around 2,000 people took to the streets of Gomel, Belarus’s second city, the independent news agency tut.by reported, and hundreds more marched in other cities.
The new tax, enshrined in a decree on preventing social dependency, widely known as the “Law against social parasites”, requires those who declare less than 183 days of work per year to pay $250 in compensation for lost taxes - more than half an average monthly salary.
On Friday, about 2,000 people demonstrated in Minsk, one of the largest protests of recent years under the authoritarian rule of President Alexander Lukashenko.
The protests were unauthorized but appeared to be tolerated by the authorities.
Belarus has been in recession since 2015 due to a slump in oil prices and contagion from an economic downturn in neighbouring Russia, where many Belarussians work in order to send money home.
Tax authorities say around 470,000 people are liable for the tax, but fewer than 10 percent have paid, generating just $6 million in extra revenue for the government.
Writing by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Kevin Liffey