Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Belarusian opposition achieved unity?

Opposition calls on the authorities to release all political prisoners to Freedom Day on March 25, to permit a march and rally on this day, and to begin negotiations on the holding of free presidential and parliamentary elections. These statements were made on February 23 on the press conference of the organizing committee for celebrating the 94th anniversary of the BNR.

The organizers presented two documents: the application to the Minsk City Executive Committee with a request to hold the actions on March 25 and the appeal to Belarus citizens.

The application filed to the Minsk City Executive Committee immediately after the press conference. Depending on the outcome of its consideration at the next meeting of the committee on February 27 the next steps will be identified. The march is expected to be held from the Academy of Sciences to the Park of Friendship of Peoples (Bangalore square, 13.30-14.30), where later the meeting with the stated number of participants to 1,000 persons (14.30-17.00) will be held.

In the same document, under the condition to release the political prisoners the authorities are invited to begin negotiations with representatives of opposition parties and movements. Negotiations should take place in the Freedom Day at the round table devoted to the anniversary. The application was signed by the chairman of the Belarusian Intelligentsia Rada Vladimir Kolos, the artist Aleksey Marochkin and the leader of the organizing committee of the party "Belarusian Movement" Viktor Ivashkevich.

The application indicated the importance of the anniversary: "The proclamation of the BNR on March 25, 1918 is the holy date for every Belarusian. Its importance today is not refuted by any serious historian. This event has finished a long phase of the Belarusian people's efforts, aimed at getting rid of the imperial dependency and living in their own independent country".

The appeal to Belarus citizens also tells about the historical significance of the date and draws attention to current problems in Belarus: the reduced incomes, the sale of enterprises to foreign business, the oppression of Belarusian language and history, the political repressions. Emphasis is placed on the responsibility of every Belarusian for the future of the country: "In order to change its position, Belarusians have to get rid of fear and indifference".

"Focus was made more on problems rather than on celebration. So far, we can only celebrate the achievements of our ancestors. The right to celebrate we have to win. And it needs our tasks to be accomplish ", Viktor Ivashkevich said.

Noting the critical moods of youth, the politician said that the success of the protest is only possible with the decentralized organization. When a small group of people is engaged in this - they are easy to be defeated. But if everyone is aware of its independence and the responsibility is shared, then such a network is harder to break: "Come and show the old politicians how it is to be done! Take responsibility. And we take a legal provision", Ivashkevich said. "During the existence of the Belarusian Popular Front office, just there about 10,000 flag have been sold. It's enough to hide them!"

Events on the Freedom Day, will also include a presentation and exhibition in the office of the Belarusian Popular Front and the recently opened cultural area called "Art Syadzіba" (art estate - udf.by). During the communication with officials each representative of the state apparatus will be presented with a historical book and CD. "The main goal is education, to bring the truth about the BNR", Vladimir Kolos said.

It's curious, the opposition finally showed unity in regard to the celebration of Freedom Day. According to Vladimir Kolos, most of the political forces are going to take its coordinated part: the United Civil Party, the Belarusian Popular Front, the BCD, "Tell the Truth!", "European Belarus", "Belarusian Movement" and "A Just World". When asked, whom the organizers don't want to see among the participants, Viktor Ivashkevich said: "We welcome all but the provocateurs".

The press conference was held in the very building, where 94 years ago the independence of Belarus was first proclaimed - in the Belarusian Popular Front office on Chernyshevskogo street, 3.