On 20 November 2020, an action of solidarity with Belarus took place in Muri, a suburb of Bern, where the Belarusian embassy is located. For more than 3 months, the illegitimate President Lukashenko directs unprecedented acts of repression and violence against his own people in Belarus. From 9 August to early November 25’800 people were detained by the police and the security forces. Back in early September, the UN Human Rights Committee reported at least 450 confirmed cases of torture in Belarusian prisons. Reports of new cases and new victims continue. One of the victims Roman Bondarenko, an artist from Minsk, was beaten to death for standing up against removal of the white-red-white ribbons from the fence in his courtyard. According to media reports people close to Lukashenko’s entourage, in particular, the chairman of the Ice Hockey Federation of the Republic of Belarus, Dmitry Baskov, are involved in Roman’s murder.
The information about Roman’s death due to received injuries in the evening of 12 November came as a shock not only in Belarus, but also abroad, including Switzerland. On 13 November, representatives of the Belarusian diaspora in Switzerland came to the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in Bern with flowers to honour Roman’s memory. However, instead of greeting their fellow citizens, answering their questions or joining a minute of silence, the staff of the Belarusian Embassy called the police and filmed them. On the contrary, the Swiss police officers, who arrived within a couple of minutes after the call, were very attentive to the representatives of the diaspora and allowed people to stay and honour Roman’s memory and leave flowers next to the embassy. The embassy employees could not be more cynical: they removed the flowers and continue doing so as soon as new flowers and candles appear at their walls, hiding behind the arguments that flowers and portraits can disturb the peace of the local residents or hurt their feelings.
The Association RAZAM.CH supported representatives of the Belarusian diaspora and organized an authorized action near the Belarusian Embassy. They also distributed flyers informing the residents why flowers appear at their walls. The last message Roman Bondarenko wrote in the courtyard chat was “I’m going out!”. The idea of the action is to go out and openly express support and admiration about the peaceful protests of Belarusians against the dictatorial regime. The embassy reported through the police that they did not want to see flowers at their walls. For this reason, a temporary memorial to Roman Bondarenko was erected in front of the Swiss Parliament on the same evening. The protesters signed a postcard to the embassy with an upside down red and green official flag of Belarus as a symbol of Lukashenko’s regime surrender.