Violent victories are for losers - JEF supports the protesters in Belarus

, by JEF Europe

Violent victories are for losers - JEF supports the protesters in Belarus

In the wake of the presidential elections in Belarus, the Young European Federalists (JEF-Europe) condemn the unfair and unfree elections and the violent and undemocratic treatment of the opposition, protesters and the independent media by the state forces.

“Although Alexander Lukashenko’s self-claimed victory comes as no surprise, given the media time his campaign was granted, the reported irregularities of the voting procedure, and the untransparant composition of the electoral committees, it is unacceptable for a winning candidate and a head of state to defend it by tear gas, police batons, and the arrest of seven opposition candidates and several journalists,” says Daniela Vidaicu, JEF-Europe Executive Bureau Member from Moldova.

Philippe Adriaenssens, President of JEF-Europe, decries last night’s events: “A stable, democratic regime does not suppress the voice of the people and does not use violence. Democracy does not end when the polls close – and there was no democracy in how last night’s protests were crushed. We demand immediate release of the detainees with no charges pressed against them, and new elections in accordance with OSCE standards, before, during, and after the election process. Only then can we talk of a democratic winner and a representative of the people.”

When democracy fails at the polls, it takes to the streets,” points out Julia Mikic, JEF-Europe Press Responsible, referring to the many voting irregularities reported, casting serious doubts onto the ’officially’ claimed 79% for Lukashenko. “JEF-Europe has been raising awareness of the dictatorship in Belarus since 2006 with its ’Free Belarus Action’, where activists in more than a 100 cities all over the world would spend a night gagging statues in solidarity with the Belarussian Citizens, whose freedom of speech is oppressed by the regime. The photographs of the action testify of JEF’s support to the brave Belarusians protesting against the oppression, and we call for youth all over Europe to engage and sponsor our cause.”

Earlier this month, JEF-Europe and 11 other international human rights organisations created a joint petition to the acting Belarusian President Lukashenko and the newly-elected President, urging them to change the most controversial Belarusian policies, namely abolish the death penalty and fully grant the rights to freedom of expression, assembly, association, press and religion. The online petition, which can be found at, has already garnered a thousand signatures.

“It does not matter so much who wins the elections, as long as that person is elected democratically by the people of Belarus, and ensures that the human rights obligations of Belarus are fulfilled,” concludes Philippe Adriaenssens. “Until these conditions are met, the EU must strongly condemn all breaches of human rights in Belarus, and be at the forefront of monitoring the democratic development in the country. We urge the EU to join JEF in following closely the fate of the detainees and to use both its political and economic leverage to guarantee safety for Belarusian Citizens. Their problems are the problems of all Europeans.”

Image: Riots in Belarus. © Associated Press

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