The European Union on Dec. 16 awarded this year’s Sakharov Prize for human rights to belarusian anti-government movement and Tihanovskaya, who have long faced the challenge of the strong-arm rule of President Alexander Lukashenko.
Accepting the Sakharov prize in Brussels at a ceremony at the European Parliament, Tihanovskaya said the campaign against the incumbent President Lukashenko will be won in the end, despite the brutal crackdown by the authorities.
In her speech, Tihanovskaya said the prize belongs to people in Belarus who have bravely fought for freedom, and she called on the European Union to further support pro-democracy demonstrators in belarus.
With strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka still clinging to power for more than a quarter of a century, Tyhanovskaya called on the EU to respond more forcefully to lukashenka’s regime, saying: ‘We call on Europe to be more decisive and stand up for the Belarusian people now, not tomorrow, not sometime in the future.’
European Parliament President Denis Sassoli says the EU’s message is clear: the people of Belarus must fully enjoy democracy and freedom, and the EU’s moral task is to support them. The European Union has announced sanctions against more than 50 Belarusian officials, including Mr Lukashenka and his son. European ambassadors in Brussels and the EU agreed today to blacklist more.
Belarus has endured an unprecedented four months of anti-government protests since Mr Lukashenka won a sixth term in a highly disputed presidential election in August.