The Day of Belarusian Heroes was held in Warsaw.
Despite the frosty weather, hundreds of Belarusians marched through the central streets of Warsaw, honouring the memory of the heroes of the Slutsk Uprising. The rally was organised by the leader of the Razam solidarity movement, Viachaslau Siuchyk.
The procession under white-red-white flags began with the Pahonia anthem. In the column, which started the march from the Warsaw roundabout named after General de Gaulle, one could see portraits of Belarusian opposition leaders Mikalai Statkevich, Pavel Seviarynets, Yauhen Afnahel, political prisoners Palina Sharenda-Panasiuk, Ryhor Kastusiou, Andrzej Poczobut. The protesters carried banners dedicated to the Belarusian volunteers Eduard Lobau, Vasil Parfiankou and Miraslau Lazouski, who died in Ukraine.
Belarusians chanted: "Long live Belarus!", "Glory to Ukraine!" and "Niech żyje Polska!" The column was accompanied by musicians - drummers and pipers.
On Sunday afternoon in Warsaw city centre there were many tourists from other European countries. They were actively interested in what kind of campaign was taking place in the Polish capital.
"Belarusians are still fighting? That's the good guys! We wish you victory," said an elderly tourist from Germany to the correspondent of Charter97.org.
Then the rally continued in Copernicus Square, where rallies of solidarity with Belarus are held every Sunday.
The first to speak was the pastor of the Belarusians in Warsaw, priest Viachaslau Barok:
- Who are they, our Belarusian heroes? They were no different from us. They had the same thoughts, the same dreams, the same weaknesses as we do. They also had their mistakes. However, heroes were exceptional people, because their conscience was awakened at the most crucial moments.
When they faced a choice, Belarus was their value. They were ready to do anything for Belarus, even sacrifice their lives. And they sacrificed!
Then the presenters of the rally read out the address of the Chairman of the Rada of the Belarusian People's Republic Ivonka Survilla:
- Dear Belarusians! Just as today Ukrainian heroes are fighting to save their region from the attack from the East, so in 1920 10,000 Sluchans took up arms to defend the Belarusian People's Republic from the Russian invasion. No one, unfortunately, helped them. They didn't even have weapons for each fighter. But our heroes held back the Russians for almost a month.
Belarusians all over the free world still celebrate this heroic armed uprising of their compatriots from Slutsk every year. The Rada of the Belarusian People's Republic also celebrates it with gratitude - every year at the end of November it solemnly remembers its heroes and pays respect to them. On behalf of the Rada of the Belarusian People's Republic and on my own behalf I greet all those whose hearts ache for the heroes who went to die for the independent Belarusian People's Republic to live. I remember you with delight, dear fellow Slutsk people, and thank you for your courage, your heroism, and, above all, for your boundless love for your land and your people. Long live Belarus!
Editor-in-Chief of the Polish Gazety Wyborczej Adam Michnik called on all people of goodwill to unite to help Ukraine, where the fate of both Belarus and Poland is being decided today:
- Today we are all Ukrainians. What is happening in Ukraine is worrying, but it also gives us a sense of optimism.
There will be no free Europe without a free Ukraine. Our countries will be threatened by local "Putins", "Lukashenkas" and "Yanukovyches". Therefore, let us all together repeat the words of Bulat Okudzhava's song - "Let's Give Hands To Each Other, Friends". Let's unite, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Poles and Russians, who are fighting Putin. Let's unite and defend our freedom!
The hosts of the event read out the names of the Slutsk rebels, who died for the freedom of Belarus.
Historian Andrei Radoman, leader of the Razam solidarity movement Viachaslau Siuchyk and other opposition politicians also addressed the participants of the event.
Then the column proceeded to Castle Square, where a concert dedicated to the Day of Belarusian Heroes was held.