European LGBT youth against the Belarus dictatorship!

Submitted by Svyatoslav Sementsov, TEMA,

On the night of 18th-19th of March 2009 JEF will organise a co-ordinated pan-European action in different cities across the continent to show support to the suppressed civil society, LGBT and opposition movement in Belarus. The date coincides with the 2006 Presidential elections in Belarus. The action consists of gagging statues in cities throughout Europe and the world that will symbolically be prevented from speaking freely, much like the current situation of the people in Belarus. The 2009 Action will call on Europe to stand up for democracy in Belarus in defence of human rights. Signs such as "It’s time for change... It's Time for a Free Belarus“ - will be hung around the necks of the statues. This is the fourth year we do this action – last year 80 European cities joined and this year we hope to beat this record!

JEF and TEMA would like to invite LGBT activists and organisations of all backgrounds who believe in democracy and respect for human rights to join us in this action against Europe’s last dictator-ship during the night of the 18th and 19th of March. All it takes is some tape, paper and a cloth! Go with your organisation and friends or join a JEF local section - simply contact - to find a section near you or tell us about your planned activity. Please also send any pictures from the statues you gagged for immediate release online - - together with all other pictures from the pan-European action in support of democracy and LGBT movement in Belarus!

"I believe this action can will make clear focus on human rights situation in general as well as LGBT human rights in BELARUS - the last dictatorship in Europe! We ask all LGBT organization in Europe join this action and raise rainbow flags, to show your support and say - that LGBT rights are Human Rights and Belarus as a European country have to respect them!" - said Svyatoslav Sementsov.

"Homosexuality is not illegal in Belarus, but discrimination against homosexuals was widespread, and harassment occurred. Government-controlled media discouraged participation in the protests following the 2006 presidential election by saying they were part of a "gay revolution". This year two LGBT public gatherings were banned by Minsk and Gomel City Administration The organizers see this denial of permission as part of a pattern of infringement on the rights to assembly and they are concerned that homophobia may be a significant factor in the refusals."

We would really appreciate if you could disseminate this invitation among your contacts and networks, as well as to any other contacts you think that may be interested in joining the action outside Belarus.

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