Pro-Democracy Movement in Belarus - Statement by Vice President Joe Biden

For more than six weeks, the people of Belarus have courageously stood up to a dictator to demand their democratic rights and freedoms. Rather than accept their calls for new elections, Alexander Lukashenka has met these peaceful expressions of freedom with brutal violence — by unleashing his thugs to beat, detain, torture, rape, and disappear protestors exercising their basic right of free expression.

On Wednesday, Lukashenka inaugurated himself in a sham ceremony that democracies around the world refused to recognize, while keeping leaders like Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and Maria Kolesnikova in exile or prison. Yet President Trump refuses to speak out against Lukashenka’s actions or to offer his personal support for the pro-democracy movement.

A president hiding in fear from his own citizens, refusing to accept the will of the people is a sign of a weak, illegitimate autocrat, not a strong leader. The people of Belarus deserve better. As President, I will defend our democratic values and stand with those who share them, as I stand with the people of Belarus today. Once again, I call for an immediate release of all political prisoners in Belarus, including Maria Kolesnikova, Sergei Tikhanovsky, Viktar Babaryka, Vitali Shkliarov, and many others who have been unlawfully detained. I call on those in positions of power in Belarus to acknowledge the need for new elections that are truly free and fair. Together with our democratic allies and partners, we must stand united and support the pro-democracy movement’s dream of a free Belarus.

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Joe Biden


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