Youth in action: Europe's statues will go as quiet as Belarus' democracy
Press release, March 13 and 16, 2007
What: Youth takes to the streets to gag statues and put up the message "Give the Citizens of Belarus a Voice"
When: On the night of March 18-19 – the anniversary of Lukashenka's condemned election victory
Where: Simultaneous in over 55 European cities from Lisbon to Vilnius plus Boston, USA.
Organiser: Young European Federalists (JEF)
"We need to act. There is a dictatorship bordering the EU where there is no democracy, no civil rights and no free media. And still European leaders are reluctant to change the situation. Therefore it is time for youth to take the lead for a free, democratic and united Europe!", says Åsa Gunvén, Vice-President of JEF Europe.
Meetings of more than 10 people and the existence of NGOs are illegal in Belarus since last year, while the use of internet is being monitored by the authorities. In the last two months arrests of civilians, opposition and civil society activist alike has increased. To protest against this situation, hundreds of statues in more than 55 European cities in over 30 countries, including Belarus, will be gagged by JEF together with other NGO's, Belarusian refugees and young people on both sides of the Atlantic.
"Just like the citizens in Belarus, the statues will symbolically be prevented from speaking freely. Acting jointly across the borders of Europe, young people want to show that we demand a free, democratic and united Europe for all Europeans. JEF has committed to do this action every year until the dictatorship falls and the citizens of Belarus are given a free voice."
The action is a way of supporting and encouraging the suppressed civil society in Belarus. But the action also aims to open the eyes of the European public and demand action from our political leaders. Last year hundreds of prominent statues in 23 European cities were gagged on the night of the dubious "elections". The action gained vast media attention – also inside Belarus.
"Neglecting the situation in Belarus is to spit the Belarusian people as well as the praised European value of democracy straight in the face," concluded Åsa Gunvén.
- Photos from last year's action can be found under www.jef.eu/index.php
Photos from the action will be published online immediately during the actions on www.jef.eu
More information about the action from last year and this year can be found under <//a>www.jef.eu/index.php
The action is confirmed in US; Boston, France: Bordeaux, Nancy, Paris, Strasbourg, Germany; Berlin, Chemnitz, Freiburg, Jena, Lithuania; Vilnius, Sweden; Stockholm, Lund, Gothenburg, UK; Edinburgh, York, Belgium, Brussels, Löwen, Portugal, Lisbon, Porto, Matosinhos, Latvia; Riga, Romania, Slovenia, Denmark; Århus, Copenhagen, Odense, Aalborg, Switzerland; Bern, Finland; Helsinki, Oulu, Netherlands; Wageningen, Ireland; Dublin, Montenegro; Podgorica, Croatia; Zagreb, Bosnia, Kosovo; Pristine, Serbia; Nis, Bulgaria, Sofia, Varna, Italia; Florence, Greece, Komotini, Poland; Warsaw, Wrclaw, Poznań, Gorzów, Gdańsk, Białystok, Wielkoposki, Spain; Madrid, Barcelona, Ukraine; Kiev, Lviv, Czech; Prague, but it is expected in many more places. Please contact the press liaison for further information on local actions and the updated list.
Please contact the Vice-President of JEF-Europe Åsa Gunvén , email@example.com, mobile: +351 96045 39 44) for further information on local actions and the updated list.