Polish president calls for solidarity with Belarusian society
Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, appealed for international solidarity with Belarusian society at the online Summit for Democracy organised by his American counterpart Joe Biden.
The Thursday-Friday summit aims to prevent erosion of democracy, human rights and freedoms in various countries around the globe.
Duda said that "four weeks after my re-lection, when over 20 million of my compatriots, Poles, took advantage of their right to vote, our neighbours, the Belarusians, were once again deprived of this right in the most brutal way possible."
The Polish president referred to the 2020 presidential elections in Belarus, allegedly won once again by the country's strongman, Alexander Lukashenko, which the West and Belarusian opposition say was rigged. Lukashenko has been in power for nearly three decades now.
"Belarus is 180 kilometres away from Warsaw," Duda said. "It is where the border of democracy lies, or even more, it is a huge crevice dividing democracy and the lack of it."
Duda said Belarus saw no discussions concerning the election system, polarisation, minorities or ideologies. "It is a luxury enjoyed by us, people of the West," he said.
"The problem there is how to release from prison 900 people whose only crime was the desire for free elections," the Polish president continued.
"I appeal to all of you for solidarity around this issue, I appeal for solidarity with Belarus," Duda said. "Today it is one of the most important challenges for the democratic world," he concluded.
Before his speech, Duda listened to Joe Biden's address together with Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya.
The Minsk regime brutally suppressed mass protests that erupted in Belarus after the announcement of the official results of the presidential election. Tsikhanouskaya, who was Lukashenko's contender, had to flee the country.