“They said that my socks were of the wrong colour,” says Natalya from Minsk about the reason for her arrest on 25 March. That day the woman went to a driving school, she was wearing white socks with a red stripe. For this, the court fined her BYN 2,320 [$903/ €749]. By the way, these socks are no longer on sale, TUT.BY readers report.
Natalya Sivtsova-Sedushkina lives near the Oktyabr cinema in Minsk. On Wednesday, 24 March, the police came to her flat, removed white and red ribbons from her balcony and took the woman to the police station. There they drew up a report against her for picketing. The next day, a trial took place, which found Natalya guilty of an administrative offence and imposed a fine of BYN 2,030 [$790 / € 656] on her.
“I returned from court and in the evening of the same day, at about 7.28 pm, I went to the driving school, the classes started at 8 pm. As soon as I left the house, four security officers in balaclavas and black clothes approached me from the back,” the woman recalls the events of that evening.
According to Natalya, she was told that her “socks are of the wrong colour”, they “lifted her up and carried” behind the cinema to the place where the paddy wagons stood. The woman asked to put her back on her feet since she wanted to go by herself and was not going to run away.
“I guess I really stood out of the crowd: white jacket and sneakers, blue cropped jeans and white socks with a red stripe made by Mark Formelle, which were half visible. But is this a violation? I walked calmly, did not disturb or touch anyone.”
The detainee was taken to the Sovetskiy district police department, where she spent less than three hours since she had a minor child. Natalya left the police with another report drawn up against her under Part 1 of Art. 24.23 of the Administrative Code. The court considered this case the very next day but sent it back for revision.
“I asked the court to request recordings from CCTV cameras, which showed me walking along the avenue, and the way I was detained. I also wanted to prove that I went on business, to the driving classes.”
During the next court hearings, Natalya was told that it was impossible to provide the video from the camera, it had already been deleted. Besides, the police edited the report: it said that the woman did not just walk in white-red-white socks, but also showed a V-sign with her hand. The motorists allegedly honked in response to her gesture.
As a result, the court chaired by Sergei Shatilo, who earlier tried Natalya for the ribbons on the balcony fined her BYN 2,320 [$903/ €749]. Until Natalya pays the fine, her phone and brooch confiscated from her will stay under arrest.
“Now I owe BYN 4,350 [$1,694 / € 1,403]. I don’t have that kind of money to pay the fine, although I’m working, I can’t save up. I tried to appeal against the court decision on the ribbons – it was left in force. Now I will try to appeal the decision on the socks,” says the woman.
This is not the first time a person was detained because he/she was wearing red and white socks. Mark Formelle’s socks, in which Natalya Sivtsova-Sedushkina was during her arrest, are reportedly no longer on sale. The same white ones, but with a black stripe, are still available for sale.