Hundreds of Canadians of Belarusian and Lithuanian heritage, along with members of other diasporas, formed a human chain on Etobicoke in the Sundays in August to support the people of Belarus in their struggle for freedom and democracy. The protesters from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Venezuela joined their protest which showed solidarity and their will to fight against dictatorship.
Recent election results in Belarus saw Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko win a sixth consecutive term. The opposition has alleged the election results were rigged.
Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians have protested the election results in recent weeks, demanding the resignation of Lukashenko, who has suppressed protests with riot police, tear gas and rubber bullets.
The event on Bloor Street West between Kipling and Islington avenues congregating in the parking lot of the Lithuanian Church of the Resurrection was part of an International “Freedom Way” taking place in 20 countries.
Organizers estimate about 400 supporters from Toronto and the GTA took part locally, which includes Hong Kongers, Taiwanese and Venezuela.
It was inspired by a similar initiative more than 30 years ago when, on Aug. 23, 1989, approximately two million Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians formed a 600-kilometre human chain, the “Baltic Way,” to demand an end to Soviet occupation.
The message of the 2020 version was similar: Belarusians deserve free, fair and democratic elections.
“Freedom Way Vilnius-Belarus on Aug. 23, 2020 is our symbolic effort to show the people of Belarus that they are not alone,” event co-ordinator Skaidra Puodziunas said in a statement.
Mitt Korot with the Belarusian Canadian Alliance said Canadians need to show support. “We all need to help the Belarusians in Belarus with what we can: our moral solidarity, political support, and financial help,” Korot said in a statement.-------------------------------------------------
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