The second rally in support of free Belarus took place in the French capital.
In the evening of July 1, dozens of people gathered for the second protest against violations of key democratic freedoms and for the release of political prisoners at the Belarusian embassy in Paris. The protesters were met by a heavy rain. In the first minutes of the rally, the organizers read out an appeal to the embassy in Belarusian and Russian, then lined up in a silent chain at the intersection of two busy streets in Paris, kp.by writes.
Passing drivers supported the rally with signals from cars, sometimes the French came up and expressed their support. There were also several French young people among the protest organizers. In the hands of the participants there were posters with the inscriptions "Freedom to Political prisoners", "No Dictatorship", "Freedom of Opinion", "Freedom of Assembly", the song "Tuteishy" was heard from the speakers.
The priest was the first to come out to the microphone:
- I wondered - why have I come here today? What will this protest give me? I've been living in France for a long time, no one will arrest me, everything is fine. But it's like a drop leading to change, these droplets may be in the country, may be in other countries, and they may one day turn into rain. We have something to compare with, we live abroad, and we want Belarus to be as prosperous as this country, - Orthodox priest Anton shared his reasons for joining the event.
Other Belarusians shared their stories, too:
- I left Belarus in 2004 after the referendum on changing the constitution so that the president would be re-elected an unlimited number of times. I was young, 21 years old, I needed freedom. It was my choice. Now I live in a free country - in France. There are problems here, but here I am not afraid to express my opinion, to walk beside policemen. I'm here because I want to be able to return to a free country, which I have been unable to return to for the 15th year, - Belarusian Alisa said.
- I've come here from the Pyrenees to say: you should let the feelings, for example, of an old lady who weighs one potato, because she can't afford two, go through you - and if you can sleep in peace and stay home, it's on your conscience. Thank you very much to those who don't sit at home! - a girl in a light coat wet from the rain took the microphone.
- I organized this rally with you, and I must say: bravo, bravo everyone! - Frenchman Mikael shouted.
Mikael said that he has two main reasons not to be indifferent to a foreign country:
- When I lived in Berlin, I had friends from Belarus, we were very close, and I learned from them how different our lives were. It's a country in Europe, it's just terrible to imagine how few opportunities they had. And I decided to use my abilities - I had already organized demonstrations, but not political ones - to tell the French people about it. It is shameful that we know nothing about what is happening in this European country. Only five of my friends came in the end - but that's a good start too!