European Socialists condemn violence in Belarus

Mon 27 Mar 2006

Vice-president of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, Jan Marinus Wiersma, today strongly condemned the use of violence against peaceful protesters in Minsk and the arrest of opposition activists last week and this weekend.

“The use of violence against protesters confirms that Lukashenka’s claim to democratic legitimacy is a mockery,” said Wiersma, “because the freedom of assembly to voice one’s dissent is integral to a democracy.”

He added that sentencing people in closed-door trials, as was reported today, completely contradicts the principles of fair justice. Despite claims of the contrary by Mr Lukashenka and his ministers, they are symptoms of the repressive character of the regime.

He further welcomed the sanctions against Mr Lukashenka and other representatives of the regime that were announced by the EU. He said he hoped the European institutions would be swift to implement them.