Agnieszka Radwańska joins top athletes with message of solidarity for Belarus protestors
Tennis ace Agnieszka Radwańska has joined other Polish athletes to express their solidarity with Belarus in a video that tells the protesters there that “we are with you!”.
Belarusians have been protesting since the presidential election on 9 August, widely believed to have been falsified, which the country’s leader Alexander Lukashenko – who has ruled the country since 1994 – claims to have won.
There were cases of appalling violence as protesters clashed with riot police in the country’s capital, Minsk.
The situation in Belarus has prompted waves of solidarity in many countries from both the government and society, including in Poland.
In the latest gesture of support, over 20 Polish sportsmen and women have appeared in a video where they wish the Belarusian people all the best in their struggle for freedom.
The athletes featured represent a range of sports, from football to swimming, via volleyball.
“What is happening in Belarus is terrifying. It's hard to believe that it's possible in the 21st century. I am keeping my fingers crossed for Belarus's fight for freedom. The world should not be indifferent to this, and we should not be indifferent either,” said Polish mountain biker Maja Włoszczowska, who is a 2008 and 2016 Olympic silver medalist in cross-country cycling.
In their statements, other athletes drew parallels between Belarus’s current struggles and Poland’s path towards freedom, leading up to the collapse of communism in 1989.
The video follows an open letter signed by over 360 athletes from Belarus, in which they “categorically condemn numerous facts of falsification of the election results of the President of the Republic of Belarus, as well as the manifestation of gross violence by the security forces. structures against peacefully protesting citizens”.
The four-minute clip, which was shared on the Polish Ministry of Sport’s YouTube channel on 1 September, is in Polish with Belarusian subtitles.