Tag Archives: protests

Belarus: EU “ready” for additional sanctions

Brussels 13.11.2020 The EU Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy made a statement on the tragic death of Mr.Bandarenka caused by police brutality.

“On 12 November, 31-year old Raman Bandarenka died after several hours of surgery in a hospital in Minsk due to serious injuries caused, according to reports, by the brutality of plain clothed policemen. This is an outrageous and shameful result of the actions by the Belarusian authorities who have not only directly and violently carried out repression of their own population, but also created an environment whereby such lawless, violent acts can take place, thus ignoring not only the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Belarusian people but also disregarding their lives. The European Union expresses its deepest condolences to Mr Bandarenka’s family and friends”.

“The EU stands in solidarity with all the Belarusians who have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of the Belarusian authorities in the aftermath of the 9 August falsified presidential elections.The EU continues to strongly condemn violence employed by the Belarusian authorities against peaceful protesters, persons engaged in the pro-democracy movement, independent media, representatives of civil society or ordinary Belarusian citizens. We expect the authorities to end the violence and persecution, to release immediately and unconditionally all arbitrarily detained persons, including political prisoners, and to investigate fully and transparently all human rights violations and abuses, and hold those responsible to account. The European Union has already imposed sanctions on 55 individuals responsible for violent repression and intimidation, and stands ready to impose additional sanctions”.

Raman Bandarenka was detained at Square of Change on November 11. According to Belsat, the protestor was taken to the hospital with a closed craniocerebral injury, acute subdural head hematomas, brain hemorrhage. Roman has fallen into a coma, and later was declared dead.

After the news about the death of Bandarenka, thousands of Minsk citizens started to bring flowers and icon lamps to the Square of Change. The spontaneous memorials and vigils in his honour were created in many cities of Belarus, as well as at entrances the Belarusian embassies in Lithuania, Russia and Ukraine, where people continued to bring flowers and candels.

EU regrets Lukashenko demands

“The demand of the Belarusian authorities that Poland and Lithuania withdraw their ambassadors and significantly reduce their diplomatic representations in Minsk is unfounded and regrettable. It goes against the logic of dialogue and will only further isolate the authorities in Minsk” reads the statement of the EU lead spokesperson.

“Attempts by the Belarusian authorities to target certain EU Member States will not succeed in weakening EU unity, which was clearly reaffirmed by the European Council on 1 October when all EU Member States called on the Belarusian authorities to end violence and repression, release all detainees and political prisoners, respect media freedom and civil society, and start an inclusive national dialogue” 

“The EU continues to support the democratic right of the Belarusian people to elect their President through new free and fair elections, without external interference” the statement concludes.

Belarus authorities announced sanctions against the European Union on October 2 in retaliation to restrictive measures agreed by European leaders hours before over the sham presidential election.

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry’s statement accused the EU of “striving towards the deterioration of relations with us” and imposed its own set of sanctions against the bloc.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on October 2 he was sure the problems that had emerged in Belarus after the presidential elections would be settled soon, the Kremlin press service said after his telephone conversation with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko.

“The presidents also discussed various aspects of the post-election situation in Belarus in the context of the ongoing attempts of outside interference. Confidence was expressed that the current problems will soon be settled,” the press service said, adding that the telephone conversation was initiated by the Belarusian side.

EU condemns Belarus arbitrary detentions

“We strongly condemn the unabating arbitrary and unexplained arrests and detentions on political grounds in Belarus that have been taking place since the start of the pre-presidential election campaign. Most recently, Maria Kalesnikova, Andrei Yahorau, Irina Sukhiy, Anton Radniankou, and Ivan Krautsou have all been targeted, while 633 people were detained following Sunday’s peaceful Unity March. It is clear that the State authorities in Belarus continue to intimidate or allow intimidation of its citizens in an increasingly lawless way and crudely violate both their own domestic laws and international obligations” reads the statement by the head of the EU diplomacy Josep Borrell on arbitrary and unexplained arrests and detentions on political grounds in Belarus.

“The EU expects the Belarusian authorities to ensure the immediate release of all detained on political grounds before and after the falsified 9 August presidential elections.

“Civil society and actors engaged in discussions on the future of Belarus, including members of the Coordination Council, must be protected from intimidation, forced exile, arbitrary arrest and violence. The rule of law and justice must prevail and a thorough and transparent investigation into all alleged abuses must take place, in order to hold those responsible to account.

“We expect the authorities to stop political persecution and engage in an inclusive national dialogue, in full respect of the Belarusian people’s democratic and fundamental rights.

“The EU will impose sanctions on individuals responsible for violence, repression and falsification of election results”.

EU expects Belarus to release journalists

«Belarus: the EU expects from authorities the immediate and unconditional release of detained journalists, along with ALL peaceful protesters. Let media do their jobs without intimidation. A FreePress is crucial to the democracy demanded by the people of Belarusé» the European External Action Service spokesperson wrote on his Twitter micro blog. (Image above: social media).

Belarusian police detained at least 20 journalists planning to cover a protest in central Minsk on August 27 and confiscated their telephones and identity documents, and other filming equipment Reuters news agency reported.

The interior ministry later on the same day said the journalists had been driven to a police station for officers to check if they had valid accreditation allowing them to exercise their profession.

The authorities explained that all those with official accreditation would be released.

There were numerious reports about the detention of press by riot police, however so far the situation of jounralists remains unclear.

Transparency: Lukashenko betrays people

“Transparency International is horrified by the violent attacks, arbitrary arrests and brutal repression unleashed by the Government of Alexander Lukashenko against peaceful protesters in Belarus. We stand in solidarity with the people of Belarus who have shown incredible courage through their peaceful resistance to the country’s authoritarian regime since Sunday’s unfair election” reads the statement of the organisation.

“We are calling on the international community to come together in this critical moment and step up support to the people of Belarus through all diplomatic and political means available’

“This is a critical tool that may help end government violence against its own people. We are calling on other governments to urgently review their own tools to protect the people of Belarus”.

“Individual sanctions in the form of asset freezes and travel bans against those perpetrating or aiding violence have the potential to hurt the authoritarian regime at the highest level and encourage them to listen to the clear demands of the people” Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International, said.

“Protests broke out in Minsk and other cities after Alexander Lukashenko, president for 26 years, claimed victory by a landslide over his opponent Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in elections mired in allegations of vote rigging and widely dismissed for not being free or fair.

“Alexander Lukashenko was elected by the people of Belarus in 1994 on an anti-corruption platform. He has betrayed his mandate and the trust of his people on many occasions during his 26 years as president,” said Oksana Drebezova, Transparency International’s national contact in Belarus.

“We are out in the streets – everybody who has courage and strength – to show that we will not stand another stolen election. Government has responded by unleashing riot police, mass detentions and violence, suppressing protesters rights and freedoms,” added Drebezova.

“Two people have died. Since Sunday, 6,700 people – including journalists – have been detained, some of whom have now been released. Shocking reports of torture, beatings, threats of rape and humiliation of detainees have been emerging.

“The unprecedented brutality that the government has committed against its own people must cease immediately.

“Transparency International has condemned the violence against peaceful protesters in Belarus and called on the government to enter into dialogue with the opposition on a peaceful way forward for the country.

“Elections in Belarus were neither free nor fair. Rather than committing acts of violence against its citizens, including the arrests of journalists and activists, the government should enter into dialogue to solve this crisis,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International.

“Once the crisis is over, Lukashenko and his regime must answer for the acts of violence and gross breaches of universal human rights in European and international courts,” continued Ferreira Rubio.

Iraq milita protests at US Embassyш

Reportedly the protesters, among which the majority are the militia fighters, enraged by U.S. air strikes on Iraq staged a violent demonstration outside the American Embassy in Baghdad at New Year eve, setting ablaze a security post and hurling stones as security forces. The embassy guards retaliated with stun grenades and tear gas.

Iraqi officials said the ambassador, the diplomats and the staff had been evacuated, but this could not be confirmed with American officials, according to Reuters news agency.

In Washington, President Trump accused Iran of orchestrating the violence and underlining that Tehran would be held responsible.

AMENDED: Image source social media.

Chile: EU deplores loss of life

“The European Union recognises the relevance of the recent demonstrations in Chile and its people’s legitimate demands, noting also the latest decisions of the President on a social package and changes in his government, as well as the cancellation of the COP 25 and APEC Summits”reads the statement by the spokesperson of the European External Action Service on the latest developments in Chile.

“We deplore the loss of life and reject any violence. Human rights must be respected in all circumstances and any breach should be duly investigated. In this context, the decision of the Chilean government to request the presence of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and of other human rights organisations is important.

“The lifting of the state of emergency and the government’s intention to launch a broad dialogue with all Chileans could be conducive to effective responses to the expectations of the citizens.

“As a longstanding partner and friend of Chile, the European Union is ready to support the Chileans in their aspirations to move towards a more sustainable, equitable and inclusive development.”

Clashes at demonstrations in the capital of Santiago have left at least 20 people dead and led to the resignation of eight key ministers from Pinera’s cabinet.

The Chilean President has now canceled the hosting of the economic APEC forum and COP25 environmental summit, which were both due to take place later this year.

EU calls Baku to release protestors

Dozens of people were detained on October 19 in Baku, Azerbaijan, following their attempt to rally peacefully.

Excessive and unprovoked force was reportedly used to disperse the crowds and arrest participants. Such incidents need to be investigated. We equally call on the authorities to release peaceful protesters remaining in detention”  says the Statement by the Spokesperson on the latest developments in Azerbaijan.

*Freedom of assembly is a fundamental human right and we expect Azerbaijan to ensure that it can be fully exercised, in line with the country’s international obligations.*

Police in Azerbaijan on Saturday detained scores of protesters, including the leader of the main opposition Popular Front, at the start of a planned rally against low salaries, corruption and a lack of democracy in the energy-rich ex-Soviet state. 

The protesters who attempted to rally in the streets of the capital had put forward demands of higher salaries for state employees and fair and independent elections. The human rights groups have been criticising Azerbaijan for a long time for a poor fundamental rights records. 

Popular Front leader Ali Kerimli said that some 50 people, mostly organizers of Saturday’s unauthorized rally, had already been detained earlier in the week, exact numbers of arrested are unknown.

Incumbent President Ilham Aliyev rules the country after death of his farther – the first President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev (1993-2003) who previously was the First secretary of the Communist party of Soviet Republic (1969-1982), and member of the Politburo of the USSR. The spouse of the President AlieyvMehriban – is his first Vice-President of Azerbajan. (Image above: President and First Vice-President of Azerbaijan).

EU expects release of Moscow protesters

Tbe European Union expects an “immediate release” of over 600 peaceful protesters, detained by police in Moscow,  the spokesperson of the European External Action Service wrote in her Twitter micro blog.

More than 600 people, including opposition activists, were detained by riot police in Moscow on August 3 after authorities warned they would take “all necessary measures” to prevent  the unsanctioned rally.

A week after police detained more than 1,300 people at a similar protest in the Russian capital, hundreds of OMON riot police were deployed ahead of the intended protest to demand free elections in Moscow.

EU blames Moscow “disproportionate use of force”

“Over a thousand peaceful demonstrators, including prominent opposition figures and journalists, have been detained in Moscow today. They were calling for free and democratic elections in Moscow in September 2019.

These detentions, and the disproportionate use of force against peaceful protesters, follow the worrying series of arrests and police raids against opposition politicians carried out in recent days, and once again seriously undermine the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly. These fundamental rights are enshrined in the Russian constitution and we expect them to be protected.

For the upcoming local elections in September 2019 to represent a genuinely democratic process, it is essential to create the conditions for a level playing field and an inclusive political environment.

We expect the authorities of the Russian Federation to respect Russia’s OSCE commitments and other international obligations when conducting the upcoming local elections.

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