Women fight for Belarus’ future

Women fight for Belarus’ future

For months now, women have been out on the streets in Minsk, demanding democracy. Now, an exhibition in Lithuania called “The Future of Belarus, Fueled by Women” is showcasing photographs of the protests, DW reports.

With flowers and earrings

For months now, women in Belarus have been protesting for democracy and the resignation of the autocratic president, Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Nadia, the young woman who is looking into the eyes of the policeman, spent 10 days in jail, according to a description of the image at the exhibition “The Future of Belarus, Fueled by Women,” in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Decidedly feminine

Many of the women have chosen to stress their femininity in the marches. This photograph in the exhibition shows 24-year-old Anna (l), with two other young women. Anna is wearing a wedding dress and veil that her mother wore when she got married 26 years ago. Lukashenka has been president of Belarus during that entire period. The picture was taken by photographer Nadia Buzhan.

300 arrests in one day

Taken on September 19, 2020, this photograph shows policemen arresting and dragging a protester away. The museum in Vilnius says that according to human rights groups, 300 people were arrested by the police on this day when the “Woman’s March” took place.

Young and old

Despite arrests and threats, women of all ages are participating in the marches. They wear white and red, the colors of Belarus. Security forces have deployed water cannons and batons against the protesters.

Forced into silence?

The MO Museum in Vilnius is organizing the exhibition with the aim of supporting the democratic movement in the neighboring country. In a press statement, the mayor of Vilnius, Remigijus Simasius, said that the city serves as a “safe haven” for Belarussian citizens.

An exiled voice

Exiled leader of the Belarusian opposition Swetlana Tichanowskaja sends her words of support. “This exhibition is dedicated to women from Belarus. We had a common goal: to bring freedom and the rule of law back to Belarus. Women are at the forefront in this struggle. Like for many other women, this struggle is a personal battle for me.”

Open exhibition despite lockdown

Employees at Vilnius’ MO museum have found a way to show pictures of the protests despite the COVID lockdown. The images are projected on the external walls of the museum so everybody can see them.

A kiss for democracy

All photographs have been taken by women journalists Nadia Buzhan, Darya Burakina, Iryna Arakhouskaya, Volha Shukaila and Viyaleta Sauchyts. In this way, the museum wants to focus on women. “Women have become the symbol of peaceful protests in Belarus. They are courageously protesting against the patriarchal and violent government.”

The making of the exhibition

The exhibition can be seen everyday between 6 and 11 p.m. local time at the MO Museum in Vilnius until March 4, 2021. The photographers have also made short films in which they speak about their experience documenting the protests. These can be seen on the MO Museum’w website, which also offers a virtual tour of the exhibition.

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