The European Parliament has awarded this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the democratic opposition in Belarus, which has been subjected to a violent breakdown of security forces loyal to longtime President Alexander Lukashenko.
“It is an honor to announce that the women and men of the democratic opposition in #Belarus are 2020 #SakharovPris winners,” David Sassoli, the leader of the European Parliament, tweeted on Thursday.
“They have on their side something that brutal force can never defeat: the truth. Do not give up on your fight. We are by your side,” Sassoli added.
It is an honor to announce that the women and men of the democratic opposition in #Belarus are 2020 #SakharovPrize winners.
They have on their side something that brute force can never defeat: the truth.
Do not give up on your fight. We are by your side. pic.twitter.com/o6Xm4WYVKi
– David Sassoli (@EP_President) October 22, 2020
The European Parliament nominated 10 people when it announced the award, including opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Nobel Prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich.
Belarus has for weeks protested against the controversial re-election of President Lukashenko, who claimed an overwhelming victory in a vote on 9 August.
A brutal breakdown of the first protests against the result has only led to popular anger.
The annual Sakharov Prize is named after individuals and groups of people who are fighting for the defense of human rights and freedom of thought.