Embassy of the U.S., Tallinn
As Estonia nears the twentieth anniversary of the restoration of its independence, recent events in Belarus remind us all that not all of Europe is so free. After Sunday's presidential election, thousands of Belarusians assembled in the streets of Minsk to protest the rigged election results. On December 19th and 20th troops from the Interior Ministry used violence to disperse the demonstrators and approximately 600 people were detained by the police. Those detained are now facing up to fifteen years in prison if convicted of "organizing [a] mass riot." Among those detained and beaten by the police are members of the media and seven presidential candidates.
There are also indications that Belarusian authorities have disrupted the free flow of internet media. As evinced by the strong bonds of friendship between the United States and Estonia, we greatly value our alliance with Europe. However, for Belarus to join its rightful place among the European community of allies, it cannot engage in such deeds. As we reiterated in the December 1st U.S.-Belarus Joint Statement, the further development of relations between our two nations is contingent upon the Government of Belarus's respecting human rights and the democratic process.
A Blow against Democracy in Belarus