Maryia Kalesnikava is a Belarusian political activist and coordinator of Viktar Babaryka’s headquarters. She is one of the protest movement leaders and an associate of presidential candidate Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya. She is also a member of the Coordinating Council. Maryia has delivered her address from jail:
“Today is my birthday. I always spend this day with my family, relatives and friends. No matter what country I’m in. It’s always loud and happy!
Today, unfortunately, I will not see you, I will not hug you and we will not laugh as loudly and deafeningly as we can. But know today and always, you are all in my heart and my soul is with you. Laugh and hug and have fun today. And do it for me, too!”
On September 7, Maryia Kalesnikava was detained in Minsk. On the night of September 8, when the authorities were trying to take her from Belarus to Ukraine by force, she tore her passport at the border and thus stayed on the territory of Belarus. The next day she was placed in jail in Minsk as a suspect in a criminal case involving public calls to seize state power.
Maryia has been behind bars for 230 days.