Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the Belarusian opposition figure currently living in exile in Lithuania, spoke to MEPs in the European Parliament via video link on August 25, saying that Belarus was undergoing a “peaceful revolution”.
She hit out at the actions of the Belarusian authorities. “The authorities use the tactics of intimidation, fear and physical threat,” she said. “At least six people were killed, dozens are missing; this is taking place in the middle of Europe.” She highlighted the case of her husband, Siarhei Tsikhanouski, an opposition activist who was jailed in the run-up to the election, and described the election results as “falsified”.
“The revolution in Belarus is not a geopolitical revolution, it is neither a pro-Russia nor anti-Russian revolution, it is neither an anti-European Union or pro-European revolution,” she said. “It is a democratic revolution … I call on all the countries of the world to respect the sovereignty of Belarus.”
Tsikhanouskaya told MEPs that Belarus had “woken up” and said her goal was to obtain “free and fair elections” through “peaceful dialogue”.
Her speech was welcomed with a round of applause by many of the MEPs present, though a minority disagreed with her assessment, including Manu Pineda, a Spanish MEP for the United Left party.
Pineda said: “Mrs Tsikhanouskaya, you know the pressure the EU can bring to bear. We’ve seen it in Venezuela. Are you prepared to ensure sanctions against your people because they didn’t vote for you? As president, are you looking for a bloodbath, as took place in Ukraine? Are you prepared for the people of Belarus to pay with blood, pain and suffering for the fate that they didn’t elect you as president? Because this is what this is all about.” Credit: European Parliament via Storyful