About campaign


The European Belarus civil campaign was created in 2008. It was initiated by Andrei Sannikau, Mikhail Marynich, Mikola Statkevich, and Viktar Ivashkevich. Many youth leaders supported their initiative.


Since 2008, activists of European Belarus have held hundreds of street rallies, pickets, performances, flash mobs in dozens of cities of the country, distributed several million copies of leaflets, posters, stickers, booklets with the symbols of European Belarus, explaining the need for Belarus to join the European Union and implementation of decisive democratic reforms in the country.


They collected tens of thousands of signatures of Belarusians for joining the EU. During this time, hundreds of civil campaign activists were beaten, arrested, and fined by the authorities, many more than once. Several people were prosecuted and became prisoners of conscience after the "case of 14" (it was initiated against the participants of a peaceful protest rally of entrepreneurs, which took place in Minsk on January 10, 2008).


Many lost their jobs or were expelled from school. The leaders of the European Belarus launched a broad international campaign of solidarity with Belarus, declaring to the world the need to release all Belarusian political prisoners, hold free elections, and the desire of the country's citizens to become part of the European family of nations.


Activists of the European Belarus civil campaign operate in all major cities of Belarus, interacting with representatives of other civil campaigns, non-governmental organizations, and independent trade unions.


In 2010, one of the campaign coordinators Andrei Sannikau took part in the presidential elections in Belarus. According to independent observers and exit polls, he entered the second round, but the election results were once again falsified.


At the end of the elections on December 19, 2010, during the dispersal of a peaceful demonstration against the falsification of their results by the authorities, many activists of European Belarus were detained and placed in the KGB pre-trial detention center, other prisons, and isolation wards. Presidential candidate Andrei Sannikau and the head of his election campaign Dzmitry Bandarenka were also detained.


Subsequently, they, as well as dozens of other activists, presidential candidates, and heads of their election headquarters were presented with trumped-up charges of parts 1 and 2 of the article 293 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus - “organization and participation in mass riots accompanied by violence against individuals, pogroms, destruction of property, armed resistance to representatives of the authorities,” which provides for a penalty of imprisonment for a term of 5 to 15 years.


Andrei Sannikau was sentenced to 5, Dzmitry Bandarenka - to 2 years in prison.


A large number of activists of European Belarus were detained and sentenced to various terms of administrative arrest. Some coordinators and activists of European Belarus managed to avoid arrest and subsequent prison terms by leaving Belarus. The central and many regional offices of European Belarus were destroyed by the KGB; office equipment, including information materials and symbols of the organization and the European Union, were seized and not returned.


Under pressure from the international community, Andrei Sannikau and Dzmitry Bandarenka were released in spring 2012, but the pressure on them continued, and they decided to leave Belarus in order to continue their activities to free Belarus from the dictatorial regime.


In 2013, an office of European Belarus was established in Poland, which represents its interests in international affairs. In 2016, European Belarus initiated and co-founded the Belarusian National Congress, a coalition of democratic political parties, public organizations, and trade unions advocating for an independent and democratic Belarus.


In 2020, activists of European Belarus took an active part in the political campaign in connection with the presidential elections in the country and popular protests against the dictatorship of Lukashenka. Many activists were again behind bars on trumped-up charges.


Despite repressions and pressure, the campaign continues its activities in Belarus. Its main goals today are the struggle for the release of political prisoners and the holding of free democratic elections.


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