Protasevich's mother has sent a message to the Belarusian dictator, Aleksandr Lukashenko. She has pointed out that both his son and his girlfriend, Sofia Sapega, are in jail because they fought for freedom of expression.
Hundreds of people in Poland and Lithuania have demonstrated on Saturday to show their support for Belarus's opponents a week after the country is in the spotlight for the crisis of the forced landing of the Ryanair plane by Minsk.
In Poland, a group of people has gathered in Warsaw Castle Square, including the parents of the opposition journalist, Roman Protasevich, who was arrested by the Belarusian authorities in the crash landing.
Protasevich's mother has sent a message to the dictator of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko. She has pointed out that both his son and his girlfriend, Sofia Sapega, are in jail because they fought for freedom of expression.
I ask for help from the European Union and all American countries to free Raman and Sofia, said Protasevich's mother.
Both the journalist's relatives and the protesters have called for the release of political prisoners in Belarus. They have assisted with messages in opposition to Lukashenko.
In neighboring Lithuania, some 200 people have gathered in the capital Vilnius with similar messages. This protest was attended by the opposition leader Svetlana Tijanovskaya, who left Belarus in August 2020 in the framework of the protests in Minsk after the elections that gave power to the Belarusian president.
The past week has been a catalyst for a global backlash. Various countries are launching investigations, imposing sanctions on the government, and expressing support for Belarus's paid plans, Tijanovskaya stated, according to the LRT agency.
On May 23, a plane from the Irish company Ryanair traveling from Athens to Vilna, the capital of Lithuania, was forced to land in Minsk, where Protasevich and Sapega were arrested.
As a result, the European Union has agreed this week to close the airspace to Belarus, a measure that other countries such as Slovakia, Poland, the United Kingdom, Latvia, and Estonia have already approved to preparing more sanctions to economically asphyxiate the Lukashenko government.
The crisis in the former Soviet republic dates back to last August, with the elections that gave Lukashenko a sixth term and were criticized by the EU. Since then, the European bloc has adopted three rounds of sanctions and keeps 88 officials and seven top country entities on its blacklist.