Basque, Estonian, French, German, Italian, Norwegian and Polish municipalities join the #DemocracyUnderPressure Campaign

Link to Original PR published to the EURACTIV Website.

Municipalities from the Basque Country, Estonia, Norway and Poland have joined the pan-European movement already supported in France, Germany and Italy. This follows the call of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), together with PLATFORMA, to join the campaign #DemocracyUnderPressure initiated by the Young European Federalists (JEF).

25 March marks the unofficial day of freedom in Belarus, celebrated annually by the democratic opposition. More than ever, this date is an opportunity to celebrate those who fight every day for democracy and refuse to recognise the August 2020 election results.

In Gdańsk (Poland), Mayor Aleksandra Dulkiewicz and deputy Mayor Monika Chabior held a press briefing on 24 March on the square named after the Belorussian poet and writer Yanka Kupala, where two rows of white-red-white daisies symbolize the flag of free Belarus.

From 22 March to 26 March, the city of Rouen (France) is lighting up its city hall in white-red-white in solidarity with the Belarusian people.

Other cities across Europe, such as Münster (Germany) or Novara (Italy), are lighting public buildings in white-red-white on 25 March. Bologna, Riga, Stockholm, Strasbourg, Tallinn, Vilnius and other cities and towns already did so for the Day of Solidarity with Belarus on 7 February.

Since the contested presidential elections of 9 August 2020, Belarusians have demonstrated to dispute the re-election of Alyaksander Lukashenka, in power since 1994. These protests have been violently suppressed by the authoritarian government, forcing those political opponents who had not already been imprisoned to flee the country.

The European Union has refused to recognise the August election result and has placed sanctions against the Lukashenka regime while the European Parliament awarded the 2020 Sakharov Prize to the Belarusian democratic opposition for their bravery and commitment to freedom of expression.

About us

The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) is the oldest and broadest organisation of local and regional authorities in Europe. Its members are over 60 national associations of municipalities and regions from 41 European countries. Together these associations represent some 100,000 local and regional governments.

PLATFORMA is the pan-European coalition of towns and regions – and their associations – active in city-to-city and region-to-region development cooperation. The PLATFORMA secretariat is hosted by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) which signed a Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) with the European Union in 2015.

JEF Europe
The Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) is a non-partisan youth NGO with 10,000 members active in over 30 countries. The organisation strives towards a federal Europe based on the principles of democracy and subsidiarity as well as respect for human rights.Each year, JEF carried the ‘Democracy under Pressure’ campaign to draw people’s attention to the rule of law situation across. Europe, notably in Belarus.

CEMR/PLATFORMA previous positions:
March 2021, PLATFORMA called their member associations and partners to join the campaign Democracy Under Pressure of JEF
March 2021, CEMR called their member associations and partners to join the campaign Democracy Under Pressure of JEF
August 2020, PLATFORMA and CEMR already condemned the violence against Belarusian protestors