The recent presidential elections in Belarus held on December 19th, 2010 where victory was claimed by the incumbent Aliaksander Lukashenka saw an unprecedented level of fraud and corruption. As with several earlier elections, these were not recognized as fair by independent European observers. Belarusian authoritarian regime turned this major democratic process into a gigantic farce with the single purpose to legitimize yet another term in power for “Europe’s last dictator”.
When the righteous indignation brought Belarusians to the streets of Minsk, the regime unleashed an unprecedented war against those who dared to raise their voice against countless falsifications. Peaceful protest was crushed by militia and KGB. Thousands were brutally beaten. Hundreds arrested. Trampling over the right of people to exercise their free will to vote, Lukashenka demonstrated his contempt for accepted democratic principles and norms, proving once again that these are but not for his own use.
Five presidential candidates, namely, Ales Mikhalevich, Uladzimir Niakliayev, Vital Rymasheuski, Andrei Sannikov and Mikola Statkevich were imprisoned alongside with over 600 other protesters. Unjust detentions, arrests and searches in the days following the elections were aimed at stemming out any opposition in the country. During recent raids on headquarters of European Radio for Belarus, Belarusian PEN Centre, Nasha Niva weekly, KGB agents questioned staff, searched the premises and seized office computers and equipment. Lawyers of the imprisoned protesters have been threatened by the government authorities. The autocratic regime has made it utterly clear that it is prepared for anything to maintain the status quo.
A number of world democracies including Canada and the US protested the violence in Belarus. The Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. Lawrence Cannon in his recent statements condemned “the violence used against the demonstrators, in particular the beating and detention of many of the opposition leaders”. The Minister “strongly urged the authorities to change direction and to uphold democratic principles, respect for human rights and the rule of law. The people of Belarus deserve to have their voices heard without fear of violent retribution.”
We, the citizens of democratic Canada, strongly protest against brutality, arrests, and mass repressions towards the opponents of the current regime in Belarus following the Election Day of December 19, 2010.
We urge the Government of Belarus to immediately release the arrested presidential candidates Ales Mikhalevich, Uladzimir Niakliayev, Vital Rymasheuski, Andrei Sannikov and Mikola Statkevich as well as all others who were detained and arrested during and after the protests of December 19th, 2010
We call on international community not to recognize the flawed election results of December 19th, 2010.
We join the civil initiatives in Belarus calling on a re-run of presidential elections without Aliaksander Lukashenka
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