Actions of solidarity with Ales Bialiatski: in Belarus, in Europe, throughout the world

Press release
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Sunday 4 August 2013 marked the second anniversary of the arbitrary arrest of Ales Bialiatski, President of the Human Rights Centre ’Viasna’ and Vice-President of FIDH.

Despite risks of detention and prosecution, many human rights defenders in Belarus organised actions of solidarity with Ales and other political prisoners. Most of these peaceful actions, which consisted in handing out postcards of Ales and talking to passers-by, were undisturbed by the police. However, on Monday 5 August, the police arrested Tatsiana Reviaka and Uladzimir Labkovich from the Human Rights Centre ’Viasna’, while they were handing out postcards in Minsk. On Tuesday 6 August they were fined 3,000,000 Belarusian roubles each (around 260 euros) for violating the law on organising and holding mass events. Prior to that, on 4 August, Diana Burakova, a volunteer at ’Viasna’, was detained in Mogilev following a similar peaceful action. These events are a further evidence of the harassment already faced by ’Viasna’ and other human rights organisations in Belarus. 

More solidarity actions were held across Europe. In Vilnius about 30 people protested with Ales Bialiatski masks in front of the Belarusian Embassy. On their posters they demanded that the Belarusian authorities free political prisoners and start solving problems instead of jailing those who speak out about them. Within the framework of the International Day of Solidarity with Belarus, actions took place in several cities of Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, as well as in Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and USA.

FIDH mobilised the internet community using the ’thunderclap’ crowd speaking platform. The aim was to publish the message: ’#Belarus : Today Ales Bialiatski has been in jail for 2 yrs for defending #humanrights #FreeAles’ on various social networks simultaneously on 4th of August. The action reached a total of 245,309 social media users. To all those who participated : Thank you!! Ales knows that we are with him, that we support him and that we will continue fighting for his release.

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