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Support to Belarus from the Finnish PEN

Last update: 21 November 2020
Support to Belarus from the Finnish PEN
The Finnish PEN invites cultural actors to support Belarusian colleagues.

The presidential election in Belarus was held in August 2020. The election result has been widely criticized and suspected of being manipulated. Opposition candidates were barred from running and independent election observers were not allowed to observe the election. After the election, the people rose up to protest and the Lukashenko regime responded by violently suppressing the protests.

Dozens of cultural figures – actors, writers, singers, painters – were punished for their opinions. Many lost their jobs. Svetlana Alexievich, who has won the Nobel Prize for Literature, was also threatened but was saved by the support of colleagues, EU ambassadors and the people. However, the situation has not eased.

Police continue to use brutality against the peaceful protesters. On 12 November Raman Bandarenka, 31, who worked as an art teacher, died as a result of injuries he sustained in a riot between protesters and the police forces.

For more than 100 days, Belarusians have been searching for justice. In these difficult circumstances, as violence and oppression continue, we want to express our support for our Belarusian colleagues and the people of Belarus in their protests for freedom.