100 Cities Say No to Minsk and Demand EU Foreign Policy

, by JEF Europe

100 Cities Say No to Minsk and Demand EU Foreign Policy

Last night, over 110 cities across Europe and worldwide, from Oslo to Istanbul, from Lisbon to Vilnius as well as in Dubai, Mexico, Pretoria and New York took to the streets against Lukashenko’s unjust Belarus dictatorship, demanding a European Foreign Policy.

Activists across the continent gagged statues – symbolically preventing them from speaking freely – much like the current situation for many Belarusian citizens and leaders of democracy and oppositions movements.

Action Co-ordinator Toni Giugliano said:

“European youth will never give up fighting for a dictatorship free Europe. Our partners joining us in the action have trebled and our cities have reached a new record.”

“We will demonstrate each year until the last European dictatorship falls and until the EU addresses the human rights violations in Belarus.”

“It is absolutely appalling that the EU has suspended Lukashenko’s travel ban. We will get nowhere unless the EU tightens sanctions against Belarus in return for respect for political opposition and minorities, human rights and freedom of the press.”

“The fact that a dictatorship is still standing in the EU’s back yard is proof that Europe’s dysfunctional foreign policy is not working.”

Mr. Vladislav Jandjuk, Speaker of the Belarusian Government in exile (Council of the Belarusian People’s Republic) said:

Change is fundamental in Belarus but is also fundamental in Europe

“Today, on the occasion of the anniversary of the manipulated presidential elections, we need to show to the Lukashenko regime what western democratic values are: freedom and human rights.

“They are not just empty words, but grounds for a just and responsible organisation of society. Only those who respect the rights and freedoms of others can be respected themselves. Our demand is clear: free and just elections for Belarus!”

Samuele Pii, President of JEF Europe concluded:

“Over the coming months, JEF Europe will be engaged in raising awareness about the upcoming European elections and advocating change”

“Change is fundamental in Belarus but is also fundamental in Europe. Only with a common Foreign and Security Policy will the EU have the means to stand up to dictatorships and address the growing global problems that we are currently facing.” [ENDS]

Press Contact: Toni Giugliano +44 (0)7756663312

Notes:

1. Mr. Jandjuk emigrated in 1998 to the Czech Republic under the threat of imprisonment out of political reasons and is a frequent speaker on Belarus until then in the Czech Republic.

2. All pictures available at www.jef.eu and high resolution photos at our special [Flickr account->http://www.flickr.com/photos/jefeurope/sets/72157615307921739/

3. Final list of cities:

Albania: Tirana; Austria: Graz; Belarus: An action took place in Belarus. For safety issues, JEF-Europe will not disclose information on where and when this action took place; Belgium: Brussels, Leuven, Ghent, Antwerp, Mechelen; Croatia: Zagreb; Czech Republic: Prague; Denmark: Copenhaguen, Odense, Aarhus; Finland: Helsinki, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Joensuu, Turku, Tampere; France: Paris, Strasbourg, Le Havre, Clermont-Ferrand, Lyon, Rennes, Bordeaux, Nancy, Aix-en-Provence, Versailles, Grenoble, Nîmes; Germany: Hamburg, Bremen, Bonn, Münster, Berlin, Cologne, Trier, Dresden, Dusseldorf, Bayreuth, Augsburg, Konstanz; Greece: Heraklion, Pireas, Komotini, Thessaloniki, Xanthi Hungary: Budapest, Debrecen, Miskolc; Ireland: Dublin Italy: Firenze, Torino, Padova, Napoli, Castelfranco, Prato, Milano, Salerno, Bologna, Pescara, Verona, Torchiara, Gorizia; Kosovo: Pristina; Latvia: Riga; Lithuania: Panevezys; Vilnius, Klaipeda, Sakiai; Macedonia: Bitola, Skopje; Malta: Valletta, Victoria; Moldova: Chisinau; Montenegro: Podgorica; Netherlands: Eindhoven; Norway: Kristiansund, Haugesund, Bergen, Stavanger, Tromso, Trondheim, Oslo, Gran; Poland: Warsaw, Zakopane, Natolin, Zdunska Wola; Portugal: Lisbon; Serbia: Nis, Novi Sad; Slovakia: Bratislava; Slovenia: Ljubljana; Spain: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia; Sweden: Stockholm, Malmo; Switzerland: Zurich, Basel, Geneva; Turkey: Istanbul; Ukraine: Kiev; United Kingdom: Hull; Edinburgh; Glasgow; London; York

USA: New York; UAE: Dubai; South Africa: Pretoria; Russia: St. Petersburg; Mexico: Puebla.

4. List of Partners

NGOs

European Students’ Union; European Youth Forum (YFJ); Amnesty International Germany; PRIDE - TEMA information center (Belarusian GLBT NGO); Lithuanian Youth Parliament/ Lietuvos mokinių parlamentas; Free Belarus Initiative / Wolna Bialorus (Poland); Jovenes Verdes (ecological youth organization in Spain); Civic Belarus (Czech Republic).

Youth Political Parties

DEMYC (Democratic Youth Community of Europe); ILFRY (International Federation of Liberal Youth); Centre Party Youth of Sweden/ Centerpartiets Ungdomsförbund; DWARS Eindhoven, GroenLinkse Jongerenorganisatie; KLJO - Klaipeda Liberal Youth Organisation (Lithuania); Youth Yabloko (Saint Petersburg - Russia); Fédération des Etudiants Libéraux (Belgium); Jonge Democraten (LYMEC - Netherlands).

Image: Photo taken by JEF activists in Napoli

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