On the evening of December 16 in many windows of Belarusian towns and cities the light will be switched off, and hundreds and thousands candles of our solidarity and freedom will be lit. “Dark cities, dark windows, where only burning candles are seen. This could become a mirror for us to see that we are really many,” a journalist Iryna Khalip said. In many countries and capitals of the world the solidarity with Belarus is to be expressed on this day. We call upon all, who would take part in the Day of Solidarity, to send photos of burning candles in dark windows made on December 16 evening, to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. The pictures are to be published at our site. Let’s see that we are many!
What event in 2005 is the most important for you? What do you expect from the new year? These questions by the Radio Svaboda are answered by the deputy editor-in-chief of the “BDG. Delovaya Gazeta”, this year’s laureate of the award “Brave Heart” by the “Time” magazine, Iryna Khalip.
On December 16 at 7 p.m. action of solidarity with Belarus will be held in Kiev on Maidan. Participants of the action will line up with candles. The main aim of the action is to attract attention to this day. In the centre of Kreschatik (the main street of Kiev) huge figure “16” is planned to be made as a sign of protest against mass Human rights violations in Belarus.
At the emergency session of thee central headquarters of the united opposition’s candidate for presidency Alyaksandr Milinkevich a plan of action considering the announced election date has been discussed.
The election headquarters of the Belarusian opposition is holding an emergency meeting in response to the parliament`s decision to move up the date of the presidential elections, a United Civil Party spokesperson said Friday.
Police in Minsk will soon launch a holiday season campaign to improve their tough image by making random early evening visits to homes dressed "in an unexpected costume" (typically, Father Christmas and a female assistant), dpa reported on 15 December, citing Interfax.
On December 16 Pora will carry out action of solidarity with Belarus in Lugansk near monument to Taras Shevchenko. According to chairman of Lugansk Pora department press-service Yulia Dementeva Pora will express solidarity with those who fight against totalitarian regime in Belarus. “Situation in Belarus is getting similar with 1937. Everyone can be imprisoned for 3 years for criticizing Belarusian regime. On December 16 we will express solidarity with struggle of Belarusians for democracy and we will commemorate those opposition members and journalists who died or disappeared. Lukashenka should realize that arbitrariness and harassment can’t protect totalitarian power,” - said leader of Pora political council Dmitry Vilzhenko.
“All subjects of election campaign should do it to the best of their power so that the presidential elections would be carried out in the most tranquil way, without undermining the stability in the society”, the deputy head of the presidential Administration Natalya Pyatkevich stated, answering the questions of journalists.
Information about attempts of University administrations to prevent students participation in Solidarity day. According to Zubr press-service administration of campuses # 5 and # 6 of Belarusian stste technological university prohibited students to leave territory of campuses after 6 p.m. Besides the light must be turned on in all rooms at 20.00.
“The decision on the date of elections has been taken in Sochi,” stated the leader of the United Civil Party Anatol Lyabedzka. “Lukashenka has just prepared a plan of the decisions and their rationalisation. Putin has approved them. Lukashenka is fond of speechifying about dependence of the Belarusian opposition from external forces. However setting the date of the presidential elections right after his return from Sochi demonstrates absence of independence of the Belarusian regime in decision making.
The Belarusian Central Commission for Elections and National Referenda is completely ready for organizing and holding presidential elections, told the chairperson of the commission Lidziya Yarmoshyna answering the questions of journalists in the chamber of representatives. Before December 23 the candidates for participation in the presidential race are to submit lists of their initiative groups to the Central Election Commission. Before December 25 applications of candidates of parties, civil society or labour collectives who want to enter the territorial election commissions, are to be received. Thus, the UCP press service informs, that the contenders in the presidential race have only 7 days in reserve.
16 December - CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation joins Belarusian human rights centre Viasna, in expressing their concern that recent amendments to the Belarusian criminal code will further endanger civil society`s freedoms of association, expression and assembly.
After additional investigation Attorney office refused to start criminal case under fact of death of “Narodnaya Volia” journalist Vasili Hrodnicau. According to BelaPAN investigator of Minsk district Attorney office Dmitry Kirilchik, the case was not started because corpus delicti was absent.
“Lukashenka is afraid. Setting the elections for the March demonstrates his weakness. It is obvious that special services have informed him about the real sentiments in the society, that my support as a candidate for presidency is growing rapidly. We knew about possible setting the elections for March and had been getting ready for that. The fact that the elections would be held much earlier, means that the authorities are acting according our scenario. And in general it doesn’t matter for us when to win, in March or in July. Our structures are ready for carrying out an election campaign,” told the candidate of the democratic opposition of Belarus Alyaksandr Milinkevich in his exclusive interview to the Charter’97 press center, commenting on scheduling the presidential elections for March-2006.
Traffic policemen have detained the car of the Belarusian democratic forces’ candidate for presidency, Alyaksandr Milinkevich, for three times within an hour, told the press secretary of the candidate Pavel Mazhejka to the Charter’97 press-center. Alyaksandr Milinkevich was on a visit in Ivatsevichy, Brest region. The leader of the opposition is trying to leave Ivatsevichy for Minsk to take part in an emergency meeting of his headquarters connected with announcement of the presidential elections’ date.
Dozens on new graffiti appeared in many districts of Mahiliou on the eve of Day of solidarity. Signatures call people to join action of solidarity. One could see number 16 in circle on many buildings of the city and Internet address www.solidarity16.org
“Calling elections earlier than expected date, to my mind, show Lukashenka’s lack of confidence, otherwise he would not deprive himself of 4 months of presidency. His insecurity is caused by the fact that discontent by his government methods is growing in the country. The Belarusian leadership is discredited at the international arena by his own efforts. The opposition has demonstrated its ability to unite and proposed a rather serious and compelling figure personality of Milinkevich as a candidate for presidency. And it causes the haste and attempts to shorten the time for political campaign for the opposition. All this is combined with repressions stepping-up, with totalitarian laws’ introduction, liquidation of independent media. However, as it happened in Belarus more than once, it could yield a reverse effect,” told the international coordinator of the civil initiative Charter’97 Andrei Sannikov, commenting on appointing the presidential elections in Belarus for March 19, 2006.
On September 16, 1999 in Belarus a vice-speaker of the Supreme Soviet Viktar Hanchar and his friend businessman Anatoly Krasouski were abducted. The fates of the former Minister of Internal Affairs Yury Zakharanka and a cameraman of the ORT channel Dzmitry Zavadsky are unknown as well. After an independent international investigation high-ranking officials were suspected of involvement in these crimes. Representatives of the civil society of Belarus proposed holding Days of Solidarity in the country. They called upon the citizens SIMPLY TO SWITCH OFF THE LIGHT at 8 p.m. on the 16th day of every month, and to light candles of Freedom for 15 minutes, as a sign of solidarity with political prisoners, disappeared oppositionists, their families, and independent journalists, with all who fight for freedom and democracy in Belarus. “We are to hold such actions regularly. Free people would see that they are many, that they are a power,” said a wife of Anatol Krasouski, Iryna Krasouskaya, a leader of the civil initiative “We Remember”.
An emergency meeting of the headquarters of oppositional presidential candidate of Belarus related to the announcement of the date of the presidential elections is to take place today in Minsk in the noon. At the moment the leader of the Belarusian pro-democracy forces Alyaksandr Milinkevich is leaving for Minsk from Brest region, where he had meetings with democratic activists.
The presidential elections in Belarus are scheduled for 19 March, 2006. A respective decree has been passed without a dissentient voice (104 votes “for”) by the “chamber of representatives” of the “national assembly” of Belarus.
The information about scheduling the presidential elections for March 19, 2006 at the extraordinary session of the “chamber of representatives” has been confirmed. The chamber has started to consider a resolution on that. The deputy head of the presidential Administration Natalya Pyatkevich and the chairman of the Central Election Commission Lidziya Yarmoshyna have arrived to the hall of the plenary meetings, the BelaPAN informs.
It is planned to provide USD 27.000.000 from budget for the organization of presidential elections next year. For Belarus, it is big money. However, analysis of the situation shows that there will be no elections. In this situation – does it make sense to waste such big money of Belarusian tax-payers? Would it be better to use this financing for better purposes? UCP leader Anatolij Lebedko comments the situation:
The United States again has expressed concern about government treatment of media in several countries that belong to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), particularly Belarus. “There has been some progress, but much remains to be done throughout the OSCE region,” said Julie Finley, U.S. permanent representative to the OSCE, in response to a report December 14 by Miklos Haraszti, the OSCE representative on freedom of the media.
Authorities in Belarus introduced rules providing criminal responsibility for dissidents. All, but three members of Lower Chamber of the Parliament of Belarus appointed by Lukashenka have voted for the adoption of the repression changes into Criminal Code. Thus, authorities have brought back the ill-famous “dissident” article 57 from the Soviet past, which set forth responsibility for anti-soviet agitation and propaganda. By doing so, the regime has demonstrated that it has no support for victory at presidential elections and that it is intended to keep the power exclusively by force and repressions. Changes into the Criminal Code contradict to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus (articles 4, 32, 33, 34) as well as to a number of international documents signed by Belarus (Articles 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights).
A special plenary of the "house of representatives" commenced today at 10a.m. According to our information, the session`s agenda contains the issue of the announcement of the presidential elections` date. The elections for president may be scheduled for March 19.