WORLDWIDE WALK FOR DEMOCRACY IN BELARUS
For Immediate Release
October 17th, 2005
Contact Charlie Szrom
Citizens Worldwide March to Tell Belarusian Dictator ‘The World is Watching’
October 17, 2005 - Ann Arbor, MI; Bloomington, IN; Istanbul, Turkey; London, Canada; London, United Kingdom; Santa Cruz, CA; Boston, MA; Washington, DC–For hundreds of Students around the world, October 15th was not just another Saturday: it was a day to commemorate the courage of democracy advocates in the Eastern European nation of Belarus. Held in the iron grip of dictator Aleksandr Lukashenka, Belarus, a country known as “Europe’s last dictatorship”, held a flawed referendum that perpetuated strongman rule exactly one year ago. In a show of solidarity with pro-democracy youth groups in Belarus, Students for Global Democracy (SGD) organized the “Worldwide Walk for Democracy in Belarus.”
Students turned out at 8 locations around the world over the weekend to place international pressure on Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenka and his government to observe international human rights standards, including the right to free and fair elections. In turn, activists reap a boost in morale, breathing space from persecution, and funds to support their independent media outreach. Pictures of the events can be found at http://www.sfgd.org?wwdb.
Students marched twelve kilometers through campuses, local parks, and city centers to raise international awareness of the twelve years of tyranny under the Lukashenka regime. The list of well-known charges against Lukashenka range from falsifying election results to beating peaceful protestors to instigating the murder of journalists and politicians to censoring independent media.
SGD is a non-partisan student-run organization that supports pro-democratic, non-violent efforts by students in countries with undemocratic governments. With a dozen campus chapters across the United States, Ghana, Nepal, South Africa, Taiwan, and Turkey, SGD brings together all sides of the political spectrum.
The Worldwide Walk is the capstone of a six month fundraising campaign in which SGD volunteers raised thousands of dollars for the Belarusian student group Zubr. The next milestone in the struggle for democracy in Belarus are presidential elections to be held in 2006. Walk participants emphasized how their walks helped to educate locals, and hope that the images of their efforts will inspire democrats in Belarus to redouble their fight for freedom.
PICTURES - A sampling of this weekend's efforts (Note: further images expected from some Walks (Turkey, for example) and one Walk (Washington, DC) did not take photographs. If you are a member of the press and need higher quality images, please email for assistance; if you will be using these images on a website, please download them instead of directly linking to them from your site. Thank you)
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Bloomington, Indiana, USA
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
London, United Kingdom
Santa Cruz, California, USA
Worldwide Walk Shirts