On August 9, 2020, the people of Belarus made a clear choice to live in a free and democratic country. On that day they gathered at polling stations across the country to vote for the alternative candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, to vote for changes, to vote for Belarus without the dictatorial regime.
The wish of Belarusians to have a new democratically elected president was met by Lukashenka with rigged ballot papers and violence against hundreds of thousands of civilly active people waiting for the official results of the presidential election. This is when the resistance of Belarusians started with peaceful protests, rallies, strikes, on a scale unprecedented in modern national history.
Regrettably, repression against active Belarusians remains relentless. As of today, there are 1483 officially recognized political prisoners in Belarus. Tens of thousands came through administrative detentions and politically motivated persecution. Hundreds of thousands now live in political exile in Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Germany, and many other countries – many cannot come back home. The civic field is almost destroyed – human rights defenders, activists, various civic NGO had to close their offices and start from scratch abroad, to continue helping Belarusians. Independent Belarusian media are recognized by the regime as extremist organisations and continue their work from abroad only.
Since the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine, Belarusians expanded their anti-regime underground resistance – and launched anti-war movement. Those who dare to stand up to the regime suffer violence and imprisonment. New detentions happen every day in Belarus. Despite this, many Belarusians also became military volunteers defending Ukraine and the future of the region.
Throughout this road to democracy and freedom, the Belarusian nation needs our constant and consistent support.
Austausch joins the call of the national leader of Belarus Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to show Solidarity with Belarusians on August 9.
There are many ways to show solidarity of Belarusians, you can find more information here.