24 March 2017, Friday, 10:58

Freedom Day: Free Components Of Victory

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PHOTO: RADIO LIBERTY

Here’s why we are going to succeed.

Very often, we heard the opposition activists naming the reasons why the changes in the country remained unachieved before, in 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2010. The key factors to have been mentioned were problems with the plan, the disunity of the opposition, and the absense of a strong leader. Everything has changed today — we have all we need to succeed.

There’s a victorious plan. Leader of the Belarusian National Congress Mikalai Statkevich announced it several days ago.

The Freedom Day demonstration starts at 2 p.m. near the Academy of Sciences, will go across the center of Minsk, ending in the Independence Square. It’s goal is to repeat the demands sounded for the first time at the March on February 17, and supported by the numerous protest actions in the regions. Here are the said demands: the abolition of the Decree #3, ceasing of raising prices and tariffs for the communal services, and holding free and democratic elections. Apparently, cancelling the Belarus-Russia joint military exercise, and the dismissal of Minister of the Interior Ihar Shunevich should be added to these demands.

Representatives of all the regions of the country have been invited to the action in Minsk. On the next day — March 26 — the Minskers will support the marches in other Belarusian towns and cities, starting at 12.00. This move will add extra dynamic to the protests, which seems necessary as we will have to come out to the streets several times. This is what Statkevich warns about:

“All the people are eager to achieve peaceful changes. However, this requires serious work. We will have to come out to the streets not just once, probably we will need to do it quite often, to put pressure on them, to achieve concessions, to make them talk to the people.”

Obviously, it would be unwise to disclaim all the details of the plan prematurely — our rivals will be aware of them in this case. However, the things we enlisted above are enough to make us realize when and why we are coming out to the street.

There’s the unity of the opposition. Yes, we can freely say this, regardless of all the plots of the secret services and their bootlickers. All the democratic forces do support holding of the Freedom Day demonstration from the Academy of Sciences to the Independence Square. The authorities showed by their disgusting behaviour at the sanctioned rally on March 15 that they don’t care whether an action is allowed or not. The people saw this, and understood everything. No one is going to the Bangalore square to run in place or something.

On the whole, a broader meaning should be applied to the words “unity of the opposition” today. We need to speak about the formation of the multi-thousand popular movement, united under a simple and understandable slogan “Basta!” Students in Minsk, workers in Babruisk, pensioners in Pinsk, and housewives in Brest – everyone chanted this word. All these people had no idea about the opposition some two months ago. Many of them used to be devoted supporters of Lukashenka. They have become the new opposition today.

There’s a strong leader. Mikalai Statkevich repeatedly showed that he is ready to stand by his words. He has gone through the regime’s prisons, but didn’t break and continued the struggle right after the release. The BNC leader was the first to offer to protest against the Decree #3 and initiated the Outraged Belarusians’ March. As a result, the action woke the whole country up, steering the protests in the regions at the background of the pitiful attempt of the authorities “to rewind it all”. I am convinced we can win with such a leader.

The authorities are afraid of Statkevich. That is why we need to be prepared he could be arrested on the eve of the Freedom Day. Our determination to protect our leader should become the guarantee of senselessness of such a move. The actions of March 25 and 26 should pass with a strict compliance with Statkevich’s plan. The only variation could relate to the changing of the route of the rally. We will go to the place where the BNC leader will be at that time in case of his arrest, and won’t leave until he is released. The authorities should understand that. It will be worse if you mess with Statkevich.

Thus, today we have everything to achieve the set goals confidently and calmly. Let’s keep up with the plan, be together, trust the leader and protect him – and we will succeed!

Kiryl Vasileuski, Facebook