Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s Speech at the Sakharov Prize Award Ceremony

This year the world has seen Belarus awakening. We stood for our freedom, dignity, national identity, but we faced the brutal nature of the regime. Two realities confronted: peaceful bright people with flags and flowers against armed men in black hiding their faces behind balaclavas.

We feel humbled that our story of resistance touched so many people across the globe. On your way to the European Parliament, you could see a shocking photo on the facade of the building. A woman in white falling down to her knees before the riot police. It’s not a wartime movie scene, it's a peaceful Belarus in 2020. People locked inside a cathedral by special forces. It’s a peaceful Belarus. Detainees marked with different colours to determine how severely they should be beaten by the police officers. It’s a peaceful Belarus. Deliberately infecting prisoners with COVID-19 . It’s a peaceful Belarus – in the heart of Europe.