About 2,000 Belarusians staged one of the country's largest protests in recent years on Friday to voice their opposition to a law that imposes a tax on those not in full-time employment.
Popularly known as the "law against social parasites," it requires those who work less than 183 days per year to pay the government $250 in compensation for lost taxes.
Protests of this size are rare in the former Soviet republic, run since 1994 by President Alexander Lukashenko, who has described himself as the "last dictator in Europe."
"I'm not going to pay (the tax). It's absurd, a return to the feudal system," said Mikhail Gutuyev, who has been unemployed since losing his job as a sales agent.
Seeking to improve ties with the EU and lessen Belarus's dependence on Russia, Lukashenko has over the past year heeded calls from the West to show greater lenience towards political opposition.
A Reuters witness at the protest said the police presence was minimal and that there was no sign the authorities wanted to prevent the demonstration from taking place.
The country has been in recession since 2015 due to a slump in oil prices and contagion from an economic crisis in neighbouring Russia, with which its economy is closely tied and where many Belarusians work in order to send money home.
In Belarus, those who are officially registered as unemployed are exempt from the law. But those not registered have to pay the annual tax to the government.
Those who officially register as unemployed must do community service for $10 per month, so most people do not.
According to the last tax inspection, 470,000 people should have paid the fee, but less than 10 percent have done so, generating just $6 million in extra revenue for the government.