Representatives of the Association Salidarnast took part in a demonstration in Bremen on the Day of Solidarity for Women's Rights and Emancipation. Lizaveta Merliak, leader of the association, addressed the participants of the action and spoke about the women activists imprisoned for their beliefs in Belarus.
According to Bremen police, about 1,500 people attended the action, which took place on the central Market Square. Representatives of feminist, socialist, diasporas, and other associations in the city spoke at the rally. Among them was Lizaveta Merliak.
- Today, 155 women are serving their sentences as political prisoners in Belarusian prisons. Among them are my comrades: Irina But-Husaim, Hanna Ablab, Yanina Malash and Zinaida Mikhniuk. Their portraits are here with us today. They lost their freedom because of their activities. Like many Belarusian women, they rebelled against injustice and dictatorship.
She noted that it's not just about free elections in Belarus, but about liberation from authoritarian structures, from repressive masculinity, which is part of Lukashenko's ideology and power.
Also in her speech she touched upon the war and the negative attitude of the Belarusians to it, despite the full support of the Russian side by the Belarusian regime. About reprisals against those who openly criticize the Belarusian authorities, as happened with independent trade unions.
- Our solidarity, our worldwide support will help them in this difficult time, when the regime locks them in prisons and wants the world to forget about them. Solidarity with them (political prisoners - auth.) is solidarity with Belarus, with the people in my homeland, who fight against the dictatorship. Liberation from the dictatorship does not directly mean the liberation of women, but our freedom is impossible while the dictator rules.
Human rights activists point out that since 2020, at least 534 women have been convicted under "political articles" in Belarus. Due to protests against the current government and the war in Ukraine since 2020, 165 women have been sentenced to imprisonment, 304 to domestic khimiya*, 60 to khimiya*, 4 women to arrest, 1 to compulsory treatment. Therefore, most of them will meet this holiday behind bars in the detention center, at work on "khimiya," and some even on the way to the colony.
* These days, a "khimiya" (literarily “chemistry”) sentence means that a convict will stay in a dormitory not far from their permanent address and work either at their workplace as usual or at a state entity defined by the penitentiary service.