Belarusians worldwide demand free and fair elections
The 2020 Belarusian presidential election will be held this Sunday, August 9. Belarus is ruled by “the last dictator of Europe” since 1994. Year after year, the international society has recognized the Belarusian elections as neither free nor fair, and there were a number of cases where evidence of the vote rigging was presented. During the first five days of the early voting period in 2020, the civilian initiative Honest People has cited over 3862 violations already.
Started just three months ago, this year’s presidential campaign has already proved to be the most violent. Key alternative candidates and Belarusian democratic activists were thrown in jail just weeks after the campaign started. Thousands of people (including journalists covering the events) were jailed for taking part in peaceful protests against the government violating human and voter rights. Peaceful rallies aka Belarusian Solidarity Lines became an international movement and are now held in around 100 cities on five continents worldwide.
On July 27, US Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced a bipartisan resolution calling for a free, fair, and transparent presidential election in Belarus taking place on August 9, 2020, including the unimpeded participation of all presidential candidates. The resolution was agreed to in Senate without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent. The full text of the resolution can be found on the US Congress website.
The movement in support of Belarus has quickly become international, joined by over 100 cities on five continents. On August 9, Belarusians worldwide are holding rallies to support free and fair elections in Belarus. Here are just some of the peaceful demonstrations that will take place simultaneously in different cities around the world this Sunday (all times are local relative to each event’s location).
New York, NY
- When: August 9, 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
- Where: in front of the Consulate General of Belarus (708 3rd Ave #20, New York, NY 10017)
- What: Silent protest to demand free and fair elections
- When: August 9, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
- Where: Times Square
- What: Main rally to support free and fair elections, and demand release of all political prisoners
More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1172553893111781/
- When: August 9, 2:00 – 10:00 pm
- Where: in front of the Embassy of Belarus (1619 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009)
- More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/646963692895642/
- When: August 9, 10:00-11:00 am
- Where: in front of the Texas State Capitol (1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701)
- More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/618894879023421/
San Diego, CA
- When: August 9, 10:30 am-1:30 pm
- Where: near Unconditional Surrender Statue (55 Tuna Ln, San Diego, CA 92101)
- More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/317513809432181/
San Francisco, CA
- When: August 9, 12:00-2:00 pm
- Where: Embarcadero Plaza (Market St &, Steuart St, San Francisco, CA 94105)
- More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/s/support-free-fair-elections-in/3029889157107057/
Los Angeles, CA
- When: August 9, 4:00-6:00 pm
- Where: 1500 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028
- More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/3042367632550459/
- When: August 9, 5:00-8:00 pm
- Where: Myrtle Edwards Park (3130 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121)
- More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/293200795104385/
- When: August 9, 2:00-4:00 pm
- Where: 850 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6C, Canada
- More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/2364182043885931/
- When: August 9, 8 AM – 8 PM
- Where: Garden of the Provinces and Territories (Wellington Street & Bay St, Ottawa, ON, Canada)
- More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/288277559087443/
- Video: https://youtu.be/YMozzt2GMI0
- When: August 9, 12:00 pm-late night
- Where: in front of the Embassy of Belarus (Mykhaila Kotsyubyns’koho St, 3, Kyiv, Ukraine, 01901)
- When: August 9, 8:00 am-8:00 pm
- Where: in front of the Embassy of Belarus (Wiertnicza 58, 02-953 Warszawa, Poland)
- More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/342975536714995/
How does the situation in Belarus affect the US and the rest of the world?
The global attention is now focused on Belarus, as it remains the last country that stands in between Russia and the European Union/NATO block. Despite the recent arguments between Mr. Putin and Mr. Lukashenko, it’s still in Russia’s best interest to maintain the Belarusian dictator in power, as it would allow for a further integration, which may lead to the annexation of Belarus. Mr. Lukashenko’s authoritarian rule is funded by Russia and results in continuous repressions and violence against Belarusian people, living in a state of fear and lawlessness in their own country. Leaving the Belarusian nation with no support in their fight for democracy will mean a further strengthening of Russia and possible annexation of Belarus later this year, as it happened in Ukraine in 2014.
“The Kremlin has a strategic interest in consolidating control over Belarus and ensuring the long-term alignment of its government and its people with Russia. The Kremlin also intends to expand its military basing in Belarus to expand its threat to the borders of Ukraine and NATO,” Mason Clark and Nataliya Bugayova, analysts with the Washington, DC Institute for the Study of War, wrote in a May 14, 2019 briefing.
Human rights violations — in numbers
- 1,362 cases of arbitrary detentions
- 379 people were fined for more than $117,000
- 223 people have been jailed for 3,138 days of arrest
Amnesty International has recognized the Belarusian political prisoners as prisoners of conscience and described the actions of Belarusian authorities as a “full-scale purge.” The US, EU, and UN have demanded to immediately release all political prisoners and hold a free and fair election campaign.