Opposition plans all-out celebrations on March 25

The united coalition of pro-democracy forces in Belarus has scheduled an all-out rally to celebrate the Freedom Day on March 25. The date is set amid discussions within the opposition over when to stage the street action.

Anatol Ljabedzka, the leader of the United Civil Party, pushed for March 19 in order to mark the anniversary of the massive protests during the presidential elections last year. Even now, he believes it is not fundamental whether to stage the action on March 19 or March 25. His deputy Siarhej Alfer has explained their party’s position to the European Radio for Belarus.

“For us it is important that the action is well organized this spring. But, since we are part of the united democratic coalition and other players had their views regarding the date of the action, we have agreed with the date of March 25.

I believe we should not split into several insignificant rallies in this situation. It would be better for all if we could unite all our forces and hold a more or less significant event. Therefore, we will definitely participate in the action on the Freedom Day,” Alfer said.

Last March, when the polling stations closed, people remained at the October Square in Minsk, putting up tents and protesting the official results of the vote. We asked Kryscina Sacikava, one of the coordinators of the tent protests last year, to share her views regarding the upcoming action on March 25.

“I support the decision that has been taken, because March 25 is a traditional date for our people. They always come to the actions on March 25; it makes sense.

In my view, we will come out, but what we are going to do will remain our small secret. If you believe, you win.

I really hope that more people will get to the streets. There are all the preconditions for that. I simply want to believe that the previous year has not passed in vain.

I agree that we need to have such a radical measure to resolve problems, because there is a huge number of our supporters, but not all of them are ready to take the risks. We can understand them. Therefore, there is a need for such an action,” she said.

Malady Front (The Youth Front) looks at the future action in more practical terms. They are even ready to stay at the square again from March 19 through March 25. Zmicier Chvedaruk, a Malady Front member, says:

“Some politicians were proposing to return to the square this year. In our opinion, it is unfortunately impossible in the current political situation.

Besides, staging two actions within one week is not a sound point. Therefore, the opposition decided to stage one all-out action on March 25, and all the members of the political council approved this decision.

Regarding the plans of Malady Front, we will act as co-organizers and want to become a driving force of the rally.

We have very serious and long-term plans. But, we all will see what is going to come out of this on March 25 at the square.”

Political commentator Uladzimir Matskevic does not look at the upcoming March rallies as something decisive for Belarus. He compares the March 25 celebrations wit the New Year.

“I do not see any reason in such actions. But, it does not mean that I deny the right or the necessity of those actions. They need to take place. Yet, they rather acquire features of a ritual: to remind about our existence and keep to tradition.

Therefore, such actions are not expedient. They are ritual-worthy, just the way we celebrate the calendar holidays.

First of all, we need to commemorate the Belarusian People’s Republic. Secondly, we need to mark the anniversary of the events last year. Therefore, I repeat that the actions should take place, but there is no need to talk much about them and attach significance to them.

There is no precondition for this action to develop into anything serious,” Matskevic said.

Youth activist Aliaksej Sydlouski believes it will be an important day for Belarus.

“It is not going to be a protest. Rather, it will be an act of national unity and celebrations of the Freedom Day to become a day of reconciliation and unity of our nation.

People who stood at the square last year will come in order to honor the heroes with candles or in some other way. Preparations are still under way, but the major events will take place on March 25,” he said.

Photo by litola_