20.000 signatures sent to IIHF against championship in Minsk
13:46, — Politics
The fight for relocating the Ice Hockey World championship from Minsk elsewhere continues.
A member of the European Parliament Marek Migalski, the director of the Belarusian House in Warsaw together with the activists of Belarusian emigration in Poland came to the office of the Polish Ice Hockey Federation in order to hand in 19.200 signatures and the resolutions of the European Parliament in favor of the tournament’s relocation to the chairman of the federation.
“We want to hand in almost 20 thousand signatures under the petition calling for the relocation of the Ice Hockey World Championship from Belarus elsewhere. We believe that the organization of a joyful event in the country, where people do not have reasons for joy, where there are political prisoners and oppositionists are detained, is a misunderstanding. International community should oppose such a legitimization attempt on the part of the regime, because we know that the championship will serve Lukashenka for the consolidation and legitimization of his regime, of the regime that is Europe’s last dictatorship. It is a shame that this dictatorship is located near the European Union’s borders. Apart from the signatures we will hand in two resolutions of the European Parliament to the chairman of the Polish department of the International Ice Hockey Federation. The resolutions urge the IIHF to reconsider holding the World Championship 2014 in Belarus. Obviously, it is an indepdented organization, but it is worth to think again of whether there are other places where this event could be held, and whether the sports officials will feel well knowing that there is a jail with political in several kilometers from them”, - Marek Migalski stated.
The director of the Belarusian House in Warsaw noted that this day was not picked randomly for handing in the signatures.
“Today Ales Bialiatski celebrates his birthday and he celebrates it behind bars. Two years ago he was arrested upon the request of Belarusian special services. There are nine more political prisoners behind bars in Belarus. It is an ordeal for them, and we can only guess what is happening there. Tortures and humiliation is only a small part of what is being done to them now. Despite that the Belarusian regime is going to show the world that it is recognized, that there are no problems with having the World Championship today. It will use this for its purposes, in spite of political prisoners being held in the center of Europe, in spite of Middle Ages-like tortures. We are, or course, against that. Marek Migalski’s initiative is absolutely right. Most Belarusians support this idea. Despite sport was and remains out of politics, we believe that there is nothing out of politics for Lukashenka. He will take any chance, any opportunity to show the power of his dictatorship”, - Dzmitry Barodka is convinced.
Unfortunately, the chairman of the Polish Ice Hockey Federation Petr Chalasik was not in his place, and the delegation was received by the organizations secretary general.