“The whole world is aware of what is happening in your country. We see your courage. We see the courage of women. We see your suffering. We see the unspeakable abuses. We see the violence. We see your aspiration and determination to live in a democratic country. We support you in your fight”. The President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, said this as he awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Veranika Tsapkala, representing the democratic opposition in Belarus.
Receiving the prize, the main opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said: “Each and every Belarusian who takes part in the peaceful protest against violence and lawlessness is a hero. Each of them is an example of courage, compassion, and dignity”. “Belarusians have been marching every week since the 9 August election. They march for their future and the future of those who cannot be there. They march for the freedom and dignity of Belarusians, of Europeans, yours and ours. Without a free Belarus, Europe is not fully free either. I have only one wish this year. I want every Belarusian who is now in jail or was forced to live in exile to return home”.