The Belarusian opposition — bolstered by vows of assist from Western leaders — marked the nation’s Freedom Day on March 25 by declaring continued resistance to authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka, with one exiled chief saying that residents had not “given up on the dream” of a free nation.
The day marks the one hundred and fifth anniversary of the 1918 declaration of an unbiased Belarus and is historically celebrated by the Belarusian opposition, lots of whom have fled into exile or been imprisoned by Lukashenka’s regime, which the West has condemned for its ongoing crackdown on the pro-democracy motion and civil society.
Opposition chief Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who now lives in Lithuania, issued a video assertion noting that Belarusians had not “given up on the dream” of “a free Belarus.”
“The trials of the previous years have proven how intertwined our previous is with the current and the longer term,” she stated. “That is the vacation of our will to freedom and independence, expensive Belarusians.”
The Disaster In Belarus
Learn our ongoing protection as Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka continues his brutal crackdown on NGOs, activists, and unbiased media following the August 2020 presidential election, extensively seen as fraudulent.
A courtroom in Minsk on March 6 sentenced Tsikhanouskaya in absentia to fifteen years in jail on prices of conspiring to overthrow the federal government, creating and main an extremist group, inciting hatred, and harming nationwide safety — allegations extensively thought of within the West to be politically motivated.
Occasions marking Belarusian Freedom Day had been deliberate in a number of international locations, together with Ukraine, Georgia, the Czech Republic, Germany, and america.
European Union overseas coverage chief Josep Borrell reasserted the bloc’s “dedication to assist the Belarusian folks,” including that “below excessive circumstances,” Belarusians had been standing up for his or her “rights and freedoms.”
The U.S. State Division stated in a assertion that “Regardless of the Lukashenka regime’s complicity in Russia’s struggle towards Ukraine, courageous Belarusians proceed to face up for an unbiased, secure, and democratic future for Belarus.”
“Within the face of the Lukashenka regime’s brutal and systemic crackdown on all sectors of Belarusian society, the Belarusian democratic motion and civil society nonetheless courageously push ahead for a free Belarus.”
The feedback got here a day after the U.S. Treasury Division issued new Belarus-related sanctions towards 9 people and three entities in response to the crackdown on the nation’s pro-democracy motion.
The sanctions announcement by the division’s Workplace of International Property Management (OFAC) recognized as being blocked a Boeing 737 that the Treasury Division stated had been utilized by Lukashenka and his household for official enterprise and private journeys, together with to worldwide areas.
Pressure and protests intensified in Belarus following the 2020 presidential election.
Syarhey Tsikhanouski — the husband of Tsikhanouskaya and a well-liked video blogger — introduced his candidacy within the election to problem Lukashenka.
Nonetheless, he was disqualified by the authorities, arrested, and sentenced to 18 years in jail. Tsikhanouskaya then mounted her personal marketing campaign.
Lukashenka claimed a landslide victory in a vote that has not been acknowledged by the opposition and Western international locations, who say he had the outcomes rigged in his favor and that the actual winner was Tsikhanouskaya.