Kaliada is an old Belarusian tradition when people dress up in magical creatures and go through the village singing songs. During the event in Minsk participants played board games, exchanged Christmas gifts, tasted food made of cannabis (without psychoactive substances). People were signing the petition for legislation reform and sending postcards to drug convicts. We made several “hemp stars”, referring to traditional Kaliada stars.
We rewrote a traditional Christmas song to fit the concept of Cannabis Christmas and went out on the streets singing. Though unconventional, it was the first Belarusian parade for legalisation.
It is impossible to organise a picket or a rally in Belarus legally, as Belarusian authoritarian government never allows protests. We decided to use this tradition as a cause to show up on the streets as it would be absurd to punish us for this. However, in 2 weeks Piotr Markiełaŭ got a subpoena.
During the trial on 18 January 2018 the judge asked Piotr if he admits guilt and he said “no”. Then after a short break the case was sent back to the police department without any hearings because of multiple discrepancies in the case materials. Piotr brought a hemp star to the trial.