1 October 2020, Thursday, 4:59
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Participant In Great Rally In Brest: I’ve Been Waiting For This Moment Since 1994

Participant In Great Rally In Brest: I’ve Been Waiting For This Moment Since 1994
PHOTO: SIARHEI NIKRASHEVICH / B-G.BY

The campaign rally of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya took place in an amazing atmosphere.

On August 2, about 20 thousand people, both the young and the elderly, came to the stage of the Brest park of soldiers-internationalists to the pre-election rally of presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Brestskaya Gazeta writes.

The authorities, allotting a forest-park area for the rally, probably wanted the audience to feel like partisans. At the place of the rally, security measures were taken: the police ensured the protection of public order, and monitored road safety on the nearby road sections.

The picket site was fenced off with turnstiles, the passage was conducted through checkpoints. The drunk were not allowed inside. The law-enforcement officers did not interfere in the course of the action. The presenters warned the audience not to succumb to provocations, and not to shout offensive slogans.

People were led to the rally in support of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya by the desire to change their lives for the better, the expectation of changes after the upcoming election, and disagreement with what is happening in our country.

Leanid, who works in a private company on a leadership position, shared his opinion: “I would like the country to see changes, so that we become free, not afraid to express our point of view. The people should understand that there will be no chaos and devastation, because everyone just wants to live in a free country where people can realize their potential”.

Mrs. Zoya, 66, confesses that it was general enthusiasm and hope for change that brought her to the rally.

“I can't say that everything is bad in Belarus, but what I don't like most is the contract system, that you can't say a word all your life. They would spit in your soul, but you swallow and live, endure this further on. This is what brought me here. If earlier, upon dismissal, they had to write some article, then after they introduced the contract system, they take you for a year, your term has expired, you do not like something - they kick you out, they fire you without giving any reason. I really want to change this. I really want to see the changes. And that outright chaos, when key candidates were excluded from the election campaign, in fact, brought all these people here,” she said.

“I've been waiting for this moment to come since 1994. I was in the opposition from the very beginning. I worked at the headquarters of Shushkevich. All these years I have fought as best I could against the Lukashenka regime. People did not wake up in any way. Even now, my close friends with higher education say: how will we be without Lukashenka? And I answer them: how do countries live where presidents change, having served for two terms at the maximum? They live well. Poland, Lithuania. In Ukraine, everything is going in the right direction. And here, like in a swamp, everything is getting rotten. The famous Greek philosopher Socrates once said that it would seem strange if a shepherd, constantly reducing the number of the flock and its quality, considered himself a good shepherd. And it is all the more strange when, despite the fact that the population and the quality of their life are decreasing, the head of state considers himself a good ruler. I'm happy that we have finally woken up. I believe that this will not stop, and personally, although I am already old and weak, and I am 67 years old, I am ready to go in the first rank, if necessary. Let Lukashenka shoot from a machine gun. I will go first to face the machine gun,” Aliaksandr said frankly.

Zinaida Mikhnyuk, a representative of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's headquarters, also shared her opinion on the current events and the exclusion of key presidential candidates from the presidential election campaign: “It is evident that the government is no longer in the same position as before. If earlier they jailed candidates after the square, now this is done before, which means that the situation is even worse. I agreed to be an authorized person because I think that you cannot go into battle without believing in victory. I believe in our people, I believe that we do not violate anything. There is only one person here talking about the Maidan all the time. We are talking about fair, free, open elections. And I believe that the commissions will count correctly, I am asking them to count the votes correctly. They live among us. They are impoverished like us. Their children do not have a normal job and a normal salary. There are fewer and fewer jobs to live in this country with dignity. The independent trade union that I represent cannot dissociate itself from politics. A decent life and a decent salary are politics. A working man should not be a beggar. And the retirement age cannot be raised, because our life expectancy is not the same as in Europe.”

White-red-white flags and posters could be seen in the hands of the audience. Inspired by the feeling of unity, they chanted: “We Believe! We Can! We Shall Win!”,“ We Love! We Can! We Shall Win!”, and “Long Live Belarus!” Activists from the stage called for the release of political prisoners, to vote only on August 9, and not go to early voting, but, when coming to the voting stations, wear a white bracelet, and “make a decision with the heart”.

The audience was told about the online platform “Vote”, with the help of which it is proposed to protect one’s vote in the current election. Young people were called to help older people register so that their votes would be counted. Thanks to the initiative “Urgent Mutual Help”, the business (which is more than 200 companies), showing solidarity with the people, is ready to offer employment to those who lost their jobs because of their civil position.

Belarus, according to one of the speakers, “seems to have overcome the coronavirus everywhere, except at the voting stations, but the coronavirus is not a reason to prevent observers from entering the voting stations. The legislature gives no right to prohibit us from observing, since we are protected by the law!”

After voting in the election, those present were called upon to photograph their ballots from both sides and send their photographs to the Vote platform, not listening to the members of the election commissions, and not to follow orders that do not comply with electoral legislation.

The representatives of the united headquarters arrived at the rally with some delay. The fact is that the traffic police officers checked the cars of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's motorcade several times on the way to Brest. Moreover, someone had damaged a tyre in one of the cars. And when, finally, the three graces of the current electoral campaign (as Lidziyia Yarmoshina called them), Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and her comrades-in-arms from the united headquarters of the presidential candidate, Maryja Kalesnikava and Veranika Tsapkala, came out to the audience to the anthem of the protest movement “Bring Down Prison Walls”, they were greeted with loud applause and cheers.

Addressing the residents of Brest, presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said: “In the last two years, it was you who were an example for the whole country. You - ordinary citizens have stood up to protect your city, your families from the threat posed by the construction of a battery plant. The whole country looked at you with hope. Thank you, Brest for this! Siarhei Tsikhanouski saw courage in you. He said that Brest is power. We endure, we are silent, we are afraid. No, not like this. We endured, we were silent, we were afraid. But we don't want this anymore!”

Veranika Tsapkala and Maryja Kalesnikava also expressed their respect for Brest, which is so persistently fighting against the battery plant, and where there is so much European free spirit. They urged not to vote early, but to come to the voting stations on August 9, better in the afternoon, and vote for Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya: “At the moment, each and every one of us, and we all together, we know for sure that we can change everything ... Smart people have been leaving Belarus for years. Talented people. But now they don't want to leave. They want to fight for their rights ... Together, we can put an end to the show called elections. Let the August 9 election be the last fake election in the history of Belarus.”