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'Free Belarus will come,' Polish FM tells Belarusians

09.08.2022 17:00
Poland’s foreign minister has sent a message of support to the Belarusian people oppressed by the Lukashenko regime, saying that “a free Belarus will come.”
Zbigniew Rau.
Zbigniew Rau.PAP/Leszek Szymański

Zbigniew Rau posted his message on Twitter on Tuesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Tuesday marks two years since the last Belarusian presidential election, officially won by the incumbent head of state Alexander Lukashenko. 

The official results sparked a wave of mass protests across Belarus against vote rigging. Many countries, including the United States and the member states of the European Union, refused to recognise the results of the ballot.

The EU on Tuesday again called the elections “fraudulent.” 

Meanwhile, Lukashenko ordered a crackdown on protesters, with authorities resorting to violence, intimidation, arbitrary arrests and detentions.     

Lukashenko’s opponent in the presidential election, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who protesters believe was the true winner, fled to EU member Lithuania shortly after the ballot.  

‘Free Belarus will come’

Poland’s top diplomat said in a tweet: “Dear Belarusians, Dear Neighbours, it's been two years since you showed the whole world that you want to live in a free country.”

He added: “For this you have faced repression, which continues unabated to this day.”

Rau stated: “We haven’t forgotten about prisoners of conscience. We understand your dreams. A free Belarus will come.”

Poland’s foreign ministry said in a separate tweet that “releasing all political prisoners and democratic change are essential for the independence of Belarus.”

The Polish foreign ministry also posted Rau's video address to Belarusians.

‘At least 1,300 political prisoners' in Belarus

Also on Tuesday, Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Culture Minister Piotr Gliński attended the opening of an open-air exhibition of posters inspired by the pro-democratic protests that swept Belarus two years ago. 

Entitled “White, red and white,” the Warsaw showcase features 19 of 250 posters sent in by artists from around the world, officials said.

Gliński told the gathering that “hundreds of thousands of people have had to flee” Lukashenko’s regime. He added that there were “at least 1,300 political prisoners” and “at least 30 journalists held behind bars” in Belarus.

He stated: “We do not accept the Belarusian regime, just as we do not accept the Russian aggression against Ukraine.” 

Belarusian opposition 'must create liberation movement'

Meanwhile, Pavel Latushka, an opposition activist and former Belarusian ambassador to Poland, said on Tuesday that the Belarusian opposition “must create a liberation movement that will be ready to fight for Belarusian independence and overthrow the illegal regime.”

In an interview with the PAP news agency, Latushka estimated that “50,000 people have been detained in Belarus since the 2020 presidential election.”  

On Tuesday evening, people were expected to gather in the southern Polish city of Kraków for a solidarity march with Belarus, two years on from the disputed presidential election, news outlets reported.


Source: IAR, PAP, consilium.europa.eu