Summary of the Day
For the first time the 4th of August became an International Day of Solidarity with Civil Society of Belarus. Although it has been announced less than a month before it occurred, over a thousand of people joined this international action.
The Day received support from almost 20 countries, including Ukraine, Lithuania, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, USA, Cuba, Georgia, Tajikistan, and Armenia (you can find the whole list of participating countries on the Solidarity Day web-site).
Belarus is the only European country where the death penalty still exists and where the European Convention on Human Rights does not apply. In this country journalists, civil society and political activists are thrown in jail, its own citizens are not permitted to leave the country and the performances of rock bands such as Lyapis Trubetskoy or DDT are prohibited. Even surfing the web in the Internet cafe requires a passport.
The International Day of Solidarity with Civil Society of Belarus has been initiated by several international and national human rights organizations: Committee on International Control over the human rights situation in Belarus, Centre for Civil Liberties(Kiev, Ukraine), Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Moscow Helsinki Group, International Youth Human Rights Movement and others.
The organizers of the Solidarity Day describe the idea of the action in a special manifesto: “We have established this day not to support any political opposition. On this day, one should not hear calls to overthrow the existing political regime in Belarus, but calls to comply with international obligations in the area of human rights, undertaken by Belarus.”
4th of August is a special date - it’s a day when Ales Bialiatski – one of the most famous human right defenders of Belarus – was arrested. On that day the “SoliDay marathon”took place in Moscow – a series of actions that included street rallies, a movie show and a round-table conference, where parallels between Russian and Belarus human rights situations were discussed, along with the possibilities of similar pressure being put on the Russian civil society, as in Belarus.
Besides Moscow, the actions dedicated to the Solidarity Day took place all over Russia – from Murmansk to Omsk.
Sergey Mihalok, the leader of the famous band from Belarus «Lyapis Trubetskoy» joined the actionin Krasnodar, at the “Cubana” rock festival. He is forced to live outside the borders of his own country for almost a year.
Famous writer Aleksander Genis had sent the photoof him holding his own aphorism, saying: “You can only say the truth about the society that hides it”.
Letters with support to Ales Bialiatski, as well as petitions for his release, were signed in Stockholm, Berlin, Tbilisi, Yerevan and other cities. A greeting card was signed by the Swedish Minister Birgitte Olsson. Souhayr Belhassen, chairwoman of an oldest human rights organization FIDH – has made her claimfor Bialiatski’s liberation.
Actions of solidarity with civil society of Belarus took place in Berlinnear the Brandenburg gates and Reichstag. Association iDecembrists and Amnesty International promoted a photo action and collection of signatures for release of Ales. Amnesty International and Libereco in Zurich, Switzerland have claimed their supportto Ales Bialiatski and all the political prisoners and victims of repressions in Belarus.
In Vilnius, Lithuania a lengthy street action took place. People were asked to sign petition to Belarus government regarding Ales' case and take a picture of it. Anyone could also take part in the Solidarity day in the social networks by changing their userpic and putting on it a blue cornflower - symbol of the Day - or use a photo with some famous quotes: “Solidarity is stronger than repressions”, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”, “When it's forbidden to think - any idea becomes revolutionary” and so on.
Such photos were collected from all over the world, from the United States West Coast in the West to Hudzhand, Tajikistan in the East, and from Murmansk or Norway in the North to Rome and Sochi in the South...
“The Day is aimed to become an annual international campaign where everyone can join and show their interest and support to people and organizations in Belarus. This time we were impressed by the fact that so many people from many different places are ready to join it and want to share their energy with others. We do hope that Ales' Bialiatski will come out from the jail soon but nevertheless we will continue this solidarity action with citizens of Belarus unless the situation with fundamental freedoms there changes” – says Andrey Yurov, one of those who proposed the idea of Action.