One of the leaders of the opposition in Belarus, Svetlana Tichanovskaya, who was applauded by MEPs on Wednesday, called on the EU to give its voice to the people of Belarus through the plenary session of the European Parliament.
“It is a symbol of the struggle for democracy and freedom, as well as the voice of many political prisoners imprisoned in Belarus,” said European Parliament President David Sassoli in an introductory speech.
“Parliament calls on the other institutions to defend fundamental rights,” he said.
Ms. Tikhanovskaya spoke about the imprisonment of activists, protesters, journalists and other citizens, including her husband from the Lukashenko regime, and also spoke of suicides in prison.
Referring to the situation with migrants at the EU-Belarus border, she wondered if MEPs believed “that the regime’s abuses and threats beyond its borders will stop there.”
He went on to warn that he expects drug and other smuggling, military provocations and even nuclear accidents at the EU’s external borders to increase.
He called on the EU to step up its sanctions against the Lukashenko regime.
“Let me assure you that the sanctions are working. Continue to pursue a coherent sanctions policy. “Sanctions break up elites, destroy corrupt systems and divide people in Lukashenko’s inner circle.”
He also called on Europe to show more solidarity with the democratic forces of Belarus.
“Let us not forget the Belarusian political prisoners and help those who were forced to leave the country. “Today, not only democracy in Belarus but also democracy in Europe depends on whether we take this path together.”