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A dictatorial style of governance is unacceptable in 21st century Europe

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Vladzimir Astapenka spoke at the event "The European Union — together with the people of Belarus" to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Andrei Sakharov

Vladzimir Astapenka, responsible for multilateral diplomacy at the NAM, took part in the discussion "The European Union — together with the people of Belarus". The event, organised by the Irish office of the European Parliament, was held as part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Andrei Sakharov and the presentation of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to representatives of the Belarusian protest.

"The illegitimate Lukashenka regime is waging war against the people of Belarus, sending hundreds of peaceful protesters to prison, and terrorising the population. This unprecedented humanitarian crisis requires a joint search for unprecedented solutions. The dictatorial style of government is unacceptable in Europe of the 21st century," said Vladzimir Astapenka.

The event was also addressed by Irish politicians: Members of the European Parliament Billy Kelleher and Shen Kelly, as well as Senator and Professor of Dublin University Ivana Bacik, who took care of the Belarusian political prisoners as a sign of solidarity with the people of Belarus.
"Legitimate political protests must be allowed in Belarus. Hundreds of political prisoners, currently behind bars due to the Lukashenka regime, should be released. The EU must continue to support the people of Belarus and use its status to demand restoration of democracy in the republic," said Billy Kelleher.

Shen Kelly said: "The democratic forces in Belarus have shown great courage, resilience and determination in the face of threats and intimidation. I and my colleagues in the European Parliament will continue to support their demands for fair and transparent elections, as well as the right to participate in peaceful assemblies and to be involved in political processes.

Ivana Bacik, for her part, shared the story of Belarusian political prisoner Aliaksandr Tereshko, sentenced to 6.5 years in a high-security colony, and said: "Many others have been convicted, but today I remember his case. On this day, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Sakharov’s birth, I am honoured to support Alexander and all those who have been arrested for brave actions in the fight for democracy in their country".

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