Campaigners for Free Speech in Belarus have their Speech Muffled in Russia

, by JEF Europe

Campaigners for Free Speech in Belarus have their Speech Muffled in Russia
Young Russians being arrested in Omsk

Last night activists around the world, in over 50 countries, spanning four continents, took to the streets to peacefully and silently protest against the lack of freedom of speech in Belarus, among other human rights violations. From Brussels to Baltimore, Stockholm to Sydney, Warsaw to Washington, all actions took place without obstacles or quandaries. All actions, that is, but one.

Last night in Omsk, Russia, young people campaigning for Belarusians to have the right to speak freely, found their own speech thwarted. Three young activists, also associated with the youth branch of the Yabloko (The Russian United Democratic Party), were arrested and imprisoned in the city near the Kazakhstan boarder. Facing an unexpected early morning wakeup call in a harsh Russian prison, the three campaigners of conscious now face a number of augmented charges, including vandalism and public disorder, which considering that no statues were damaged or public unrest was caused, is somewhat ludicrous.

Activists fighting against authoritarianism and for a free and democratic Europe have plenty of idealism left in them and are certainly not afraid to join an annual Free Russia action if needs be.

JEF Europe find the actions of the Russian authorities in Omsk thoroughly unacceptable and demand that those wrongfully apprehended are released without charge and publicly atoned. For the past five years JEF Europe has campaigned to rid Europe of its last dictatorship, but now it seems that even if the organisation is successful in aiding to do so, one more repressive regime in Europe will still remain: Russia. Activists fighting against authoritarianism and for a free and democratic Europe have plenty of idealism left in them and are certainly not afraid to join an annual Free Russia action if needs be.

Image: Young Russians being arrested in Omsk, Source: Radio Stanzia

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