A campaign of collecting signatures for the white-red-white flag has been launched in Belarus. The campaigners (BMAgroup, Art Siadziba, Rock Solidarity) aim at its putting on the list of cultural treasures. The signatures collected will be handed over to the Ministry of Culture.
After the 1995 referendum the white-red-white flag has been a symbol of the opposition to the regime of Aliaksandr Lukashenka, most notably at the protests after the 2006 and 2010 presidential elections. The flag is not officially banned from public usage, but its demonstration by political activists or sports fans may lead to arrests and confiscation of the flags. In May, 2013 Belarusians had to defend it even in the course of the hockey match in Stokholm, Sweden.
It is nonsense that the colors under which independent Belarus was developing is considered as “an unregistered symbol”; its historical and cultural value should be officially recognised, the organisers say. “It is the flag under which the first President of the Republic of Belarus took his oath. In my orinion it was a significant occasion; no matter whether we like any persons and symbols or not, it is crucial that this flag enjoyed any status,” Vital Supranovich, one of the initiators, stressed.
Three years ago another national symbol of Belarus, emblem Pahonia (Pursuit), was put on the list of historical and cultural values. Nevertheless, public officers refused to list the white-red-white flag for some unknown reasons.
The campaigners are to close the books and voice the number of the signatures collected on July 27. It is interesting that until the 1996 referendum initiated by Aliaksandr Lukashenka Belarus celebrated its Independence Day on July 27, the day in 1990 when Belarus’ Supreme Council adopted the Declaration of state sovereignty.
The current national flag of is a red and green one with a white and red ornament pattern placed at the staff end. With a voter turnout of 64.7%, the new flag was approved by a majority in the ratio of three to one (75.1% to 24.9%). The way of carrying out the referendum as well as legality of questioning the national symbols on a referendum was heavily criticized by the opposition.