August 2021 marks a year since the start of the mass protests against the falsified presidential elections and the
brutal regime of Aliaksandr Lukashenka.
Political prisoners: 667
For weeks, a large group of Afghan refugees has been stuck at the Belarusian-Polish border without adequate access to clean water, food, shelter, or restrooms (via The Guardian, Washington Post, and New York Times). The
Belarusian regime facilitates the transit of refugees, mainly from Iraq, to the EU border to retaliate against Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland.
The crackdown in Belarus continued in August with raids, searches, interrogations, at least 395 arrests – often targeting former protest participants – and
liquidation of 200 civil
organizations (via Viasna).
The authorities banned as
“extremist” the most popular independent news site, tut.by, and its affiliated zerkalo.io (via
Committee to Protect Journalists).
Vitaly Shishov, the head of the Belarusian House in Ukraine (BHU), was found hanged in a park in Kyiv (via BBC and BBC, and New York Times). The BHU provided
assistance to Belarusians in exile.
After criticizing her coaches at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya faced a forcible return to Belarus and had to ask for asylum in the Polish
Embassy (NPR, New York Times, SBS).
The International Monetary Fund will give Belarus $910 million to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The much-criticized move will undermine the effects of the international sanctions and provide a massive boost to the regime. According to the IMF, the allocation is made because “the international
community continues to deal with the current administration” (via Bloomberg, Reuters, Washington Post, and Atlantic Council).
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Menendez, called for the IMF to de-recognize the Lukashenka government and for the US government to lead this effort (via US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations).
The US Department of the Treasury issued more sanctions against the Belarusian regime (via The White House).
In her op-ed, pro-democracy leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya argued that Lukashenka's regime became a security threat for Europe (via New York Times).
See also a new report on torture in Belarus (in Russian only).
American Belarusians joined in a flashmob held by Masha Zabara in front of the International Monetary Fund building in Washington, D.C., to protest its allocation to the illegitimate government of Belarus (via Belsat).
Team Belarus, made of 12 athletes, participated in a 200-mile relay race "Hood to Coast!" to collect funds for the Belarusian Sport Solidarity
Foundation. The foundation supports dissident Belarusian sportspeople (Reuters), including sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya.
Write to political prisoners (See Viasna, dissidentby) and support #FREEVIASNA on September 17.
In August, Belarusian-American communities joined Belarusians worldwide to commemorate one year since the start of the peaceful protests and remember political prisoners and those who lost their lives in their fight for freedom (see BelarusTogether.com).
In Chicago, the Belarusian community celebrated the Festival of Cultures in Mount Prospect and marked August 8 as a Day of Path to Freedom for Belarus
Belarusians of Boston gathered at the statue of Tadeusz Kościuszko to mark a year of the Belarusian fight for freedom, democracy, and human rights
Austin, next to the Texas State Capitol
"Chain of Solidarity for Belarus" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Belarusian diaspora in St. Petersburg, FL,
organized a bike race at St. Pete Pier.
Belarusians from North Carolina held a picnic and a rally “Belarus Will Be Free” next to the NC State Capital.