Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Belarusians Protesting Against Refusal To Grant Them Polish Residence Permits

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  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Belarusians Protesting Against Refusal To Grant Them Polish Residence Permits Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Belarusians Protesting Against Refusal To Grant Them Polish Residence Permits Other Reason

Does a video show Belarusians on picket lines demanding that the Polish authorities reconsider their decision to deny residence permits to Belarusian citizens? No, that's not true: This action, which took place in Warsaw, Poland, on January 24, 2024, was dedicated to the release of political prisoners in Belarus.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok by @sotniktiktok on January 25, 2024, with a caption (translated from Russian to English by Lead Stories staff) that read:

Fleeing 'Belarusians' picketed over refusal of residence permits by Polish authorities.

'Belarusians' wrote a petition to the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanding to reconsider the decision to deny residence permits and picketed.

We remind you, that more than 500 'Belarusians' were denied residence permits by the Polish authorities for reasons of national security. The reasons are secret.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Blr Opposition in Warsaw.jpg

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Feb 1 15:08:03 2024 UTC)

On January 25, 2024, another post with the same video content was published on TikTok by @19zabqrb79u.

A Google Lens reverse image search revealed that this was a protest for the release of political prisoners in Belarus, as evidenced by the posters with the names of some of the Belarusian political prisoners. Poland-based media outlet Radyjo Racyja (labeled an "extremist formation" by Belarusian officials) reported that this action took place on January 24, 2024, in front of the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw (archived here).

As for the claim that Poland allegedly refused to issue residence permits to Belarusians, a Google search conducted in Russian (archived here) with the keywords "Poland refused to issue residence permits to Belarusians" showed that this was a very specific case. This was not about denying residence permits to Belarusians in general, but about suspending (or even banning) the issuance of "Poland. Business Port" to Belarusians. This was a program (archived here) aimed at attracting IT specialists and companies from Belarus, which has been in effect since 2020. Initially, it covered only Belarusian citizens, but since July 2021 it had been extended to residents of Ukraine, Georgia, Russia, Moldova and Armenia.

On January 26, 2024, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Radoslaw Sikorski announced the decision (archived here) to suspend the participation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland in "Poland. Business Harbor" until decisions were made to ensure proper vetting of companies and foreigners who are its beneficiaries. However, foreigners seeking employment in the IT sector in Poland can still apply for visas on general grounds and, if all requirements are met, obtain visas entitling them to work in Poland.


  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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