Opposition-led Budapest City Hall, along with the other three Visegrad (V4) capitals, displayed the historical Belarus flag yesterday, once again taking a stance by protesters in support of Belarusian democracy and free elections.
“Together with my fellow mayors of Pozsony (Bratislava), Prague, and Warsaw, as the Pact of Free Cities, today we stood up for the Belarusian protesters, and condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence exercised by the police forces,” Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony explained on his Facebook page.
According to their joint statement, “the future of Belarus must lie with the people of Belarus, and not with Europe’s last dictator, Alexander Lukashenko. We urge the EU to review its policy towards Belarus and introduce measures against those responsible for the violent crackdown. Our European community must take a firm stand on the fight for democracy in Belarus.”
“We proudly put up the historic flag on our City Halls in solidarity with the ordinary citizens from all walks of life who dare speak truth to power and march for their freedom,” the communique concludes.
Opposition mayors of Pozsony (Bratislava), Budapest, Prague, and Warsaw met in December 2019 in the Hungarian capital to establish the “Pact of Free Cities” in order to
join forces to combat populism, promote transparency, and to tackle inequality, the climate crisis, and a number of other issues. The signatories also aim to lobby Brussels for better access to EU funds in an effort to circumvent financial constraints imposed by their governments. “Grassroots democracy is the answer to the ills in their societies,” the founding mayors explained.
Unlike the central government that hesitated for so long, the opposition parties and Karácsony-led Budapest took a firm stance by the Belarus protesters in support of free elections, from the beginning of the demonstrations. For example, Budapest illuminated the Chain Bridge in the colors of the historical white-red-white flag used by the protesters, Momentum organized a protest, and Jobbik also urged the government to express their support. Pécs also joined, and one week ago illuminated its TV tower with the red and white colors.
featured image via Gergely Karácsony-Facebook