Historical Belarusian Flag Flown Above Brno City Hall in Support of Pro-Democracy Movement
Since Friday, the historical red-white-red flag of Belarus has been flying over the city hall as an expression of support for the citizens of Belarus. On Sunday, the citizens of Brno also expressed their support by demonstrating in front of the building on Dominikanske namesti. Photo credit: M. Schmerková / MMB.
Brno, Aug 17 (BD) – On Friday, the City of Brno raised the historical Belarusian flag, commonly used in protests against the current government, as an expression of support for civil society and victims of repression in Belarus, “especially in connection with this year’s presidential election.”
“As members of the Brno City Council, we would like to appeal to Belarus to respect human rights, democracy and the rule of law. We cannot and do not want to be blind to a situation that is taking place about 1,000 kilometers from us. That seems far at first glance, but let’s realize that this is a distance that many of us do not hesitate to travel on holiday,” said the Mayor of Brno, Markéta Vaňková (ODS).
By raising the historical Belarusian flag, Brno City Council expressed its support for the citizens of Belarus, respect for their rights, and observance of the democratic principles set out in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which the Czech Republic “respects and defends.” These include, in particular, the right to free elections, the right to personal liberty and security, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the right to freedom of assembly and association.
“With this act, we want to remind ourselves and everyone else of the importance of free elections, civil dialogue, freedom of speech and the prevention of any manifestations of state violence against civil society. Although Belarus is a sovereign state, we consider it important to promote freedom of expression and assembly and equal political competition by raising the historical Belarusian flag. This flag is a symbol of the struggle of Belarusian citizens for independence, freedom and democracy,” said Marek Fišer (Piráti), Council Member for Culture.
The historical red-white-red flag was briefly used by the People’s Republic of Belarus in 1918 before Belarus became a Soviet republic, and again after independence in 1991. It was replaced by the current flag in July 1995 following a referendum which many claim did not comply with democratic principles. The historical flag is often used as a symbol of freedom and opposition to the current regime.
On Sunday, August 16th, there was also a demonstration in front of the city hall on Dominikanske Namesti, hosted by Společně Brno, a civil society association, and NESEHNUTÍ, a socio-environmental NGO, to “express support and solidarity with Belarusians fighting and suffering for freedom and basic human rights.” Many of those attending wore red and white clothing, carried red and white balloons and brought their own banners and signs.