Last week, on a cold December afternoon Liberal Youth continued their campaign for human rights in Belarus, a country often described as “Europe’s Last Dictatorship”. We were joined by the Free Belarus Now group, lead by Irina Bogdanova (sister of an ex-Presidential candidate) in a demonstration outside the Belarusian embassy in London.
The event was called “Make Some Noise for Human Rights” with Liberal Youth members bringing everything from drums to violins. We need to raise awareness of the situation in Belarus and what better way than being loud enough so people have to take notice of us!
Since 1994, Alexander Lukashenko has ruled over Belarus with an authoritarian regime. Elections have been rigged, the media has been censored, young pro-democracy activists have been beaten and ex-presidential candidates tortured using KGB methods. Horrifying stories continue to flood out of the country about the treatment of political prisoners who are subjected to psychological and physical torture. This year Liberal Youth has already taken action when it was confirmed that a blogger who posted a picture with a teddy bear (now seen as an anti-regime image) was nearly beaten to death. Our Bears For Belarus site won a Lib Dem Voice Blog award, 24,000 hits worldwide and international media coverage.
This recent demo was part of our continuing attempts to raise awareness on an issue the public and our party do not know enough about. We were demonstrating in solidarity with those in Belarus who, despite being on our doorstep have no human rights. If protesters in Belarus the same age as us had been chanting what we had this week, they would have been arrested and taken to KGB-style prisons. This should not be allowed to happen on our doorsteps in the 21st century.
We’ll continue this campaign, whether through further embassy demonstrations or social media campaigns. Liberal Youth are determined to raise awareness of a dictator on our doorstep, and we hope you’ll join us.