Last weekend, about 5,000 women in Minsk, Belarus protested the election of President Alexander Lukashenko. Joining them for the first were supporters of the LGBTQ community. They boldly and unapologetically participated to stand up against the authoritarian leader.
One of the protestors Anna Bredova spoke to the Associated Press, “LGBT people are calling for freedom. “We are tired of living in a dictatorship where we simply didn’t exist.”
The country has seen protests since August 9th after the election. Protestors believe the election was rigged in favor of Lukashenko, with results showing a landslide victory of 80%.
Sunday protests have been the largest, with more than 100,000 people participating. Authorities have revoked the accreditation of Belarus based journalists, they’ve deported foreign journalists, and have detained students and opposition leaders and organizers.
Former Presidential candidate and main challenger to Lukashenko, Svetlana Tsikhanoiskaya found herself fleeing to Lithuania the day after the election.
Last Friday. she made a video statement to the U.N. Security Council, accusing Lukashenko of stealing the election. She also asked the U.N. to condemn the crackdown on protesters, she requested a mission to monitor the situation in Belarus and she asked for a special session of its Human Rights Council to discuss the recent events taking place since the election.
Lukashenko has been President of Belarus since 1994.
The Realist Woman’s take:
Women have led the way of these protests and marches. They are fed up with Lukashenko’s authoritarian regime and want better for themselves and their country.
Their protests haven’t let up and I hope they don’t give up until Lukashenko resigns. It was also very bold of the LBGT community to join the protests to voice their opposition to this fraudulent election. A change in an administration could mean significant change for their rights.
Currently, while homosexuality has been decriminalized since 1994, LGBT organizations haven’t been allowed to legally register and same-sex marriage is prohibited.