TALLINN - Delivering a speech at the general assembly of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) at the Tallinn Creative Hub on Thursday, Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya spoke about the importance of nonviolent resistance.
"The Belarusians protesting against the Lukashenko regime did not degrade their opponents. They did not expect the police to dehumanize them," Tsikhanouskaya said. "We came with flowers, but we were met with bullets and batons. Love was met with hatred. Lukashenko's henchmen tried to beat the spirit of brotherhood out of the Belarusian people, doing so with unprecedented violence against unarmed and defenseless people."
Speaking to representatives of European churches in Tallinn, Tsikhanouskaya emphasized the role of Christians in nonviolent resistance.
"Religious communities, churches, and individual Christians play an important role in promoting peace in society, maintaining hope under tyranny, and contributing to democratic change. People whose faith teaches them not to kill, steal, or bear false witness, who respect God more than political leaders, and who derive moral strength from their faith, are extremely dangerous for dictatorships and extremely necessary in democratic countries," she said.
Tsikhanouskaya delivered her speech at the general assembly of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), which brings together over 300 representatives from churches across Europe, including several church leaders. The assembly, held every five years, is taking place in Tallinn for the first time and is hosted by the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church.
CEC is a fellowship of 113 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic churches from across Europe, plus more than 40 national councils of churches and organizations in partnership. CEC was founded in 1959, following World War II, to work for healing and peace.