My name is Remco Koers, a freelance photojournalist from the Netherlands.
In 2016 I started at the Photo Academy in Amsterdam and after a successful year I wanted to focus more on photojournalism. I did a three month internship at the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. And since then I’m working as a freelance photojournalist, mostly in The Netherlands, but sometimes I’m going abroad to work on photo projects there.
Belarus, a peaceful revolutiuon
This is a photo project about the political situation in Belarus and the start of a peaceful revolution.
Since August many Belarusians protest peacefully against the corrupt regime of Lukashenko and the fraudulent elections that happened in August as well. From the beginning armed forces tried to bring down these protests with violence and by putting protesters in prison. Until now it didn’t had the result Lukashenko was hoping for. More and more people express their support for the opposition or participate during these (forbidden) protests. For the last months people go out on the street every Saturday and Sunday.
This is one of the activists, named Oleg. He is a CEO of a startup in the IT sector. Oleg feels it’s his fundamental right to protest peacefully after the unfair election last August. Oleg no longer feels safe in his own country and it is time for new competent leaders to run Belarus.
This is Nadzeya. She is an 34 year old artist from Minsk. She said the law doesn’t work in Belarus anymore. Or better, the law only works in a punishment direction. But this process also goes beyond the legal framework. The police tortured protesters and continue to use violence. People are fired from their jobs for their political opinions. I want to live in a country where laws work for everyone, people can have an opinion and elections will be transparent and fair. Nadzeya thinks that everyone’s small contribution combined could make a huge difference.
This is Uliana Shishkova with her children. She is participating the protest every weekend because she saw with her own eyes the falsification during the elections. Uliana was an independent election observer and says commission members were strongly forced to put their signature under the fake documents. Now we have to continue because many wonderful people are in jail. I don't want my children to grow up in a country ruled by fascism. Now we finally observe the birth of a nation and an unprecedented unity of people of all social classes going to the streets, in sure we will finally win! My children Mark, Florina and Kamilla used to go to the protest, but the government is threatening to take children from families in which parents participate during the protests.
This is Egor, a photographer from Minsk. The frustration started before the election when Lukashenko didn't take the Covid-19 problems serious and lied about the deaths caused by Covid-19. Even before the elections, all independent candidates were jailed on fictitious accusations.
Some of my friends had also been arrested and deprived of their rights and freedoms. After the elections, thanks to the Golos platform and independent observers, it became clear that Lukashenko had rigged the elections. And people who disagreed with this result were shot with rubber bullets and flash granades. Many prisoners where tortured half to death. The depressions still continues. That is why me and many other Belarusians go out and protest.
This is Vlad, he was detained a few weeks ago for participating during a peaceful protest. He was detained for 14 days without and fair trail. Vlad didn't get any chance to see a lawyer or to detention papers. At the trail the court decided to sentence him for 14 days. There were 10 prisoners in the cell, all for participating the protest. During those 14 days I only had the chance to get out of my cell twice for 15 minutes. The rest of our stay we spend time playing cards and talk.
Looking back at this situation Vlad has no regrets. The protest is at the moment the only thing people can do to make a difference. The political and economical situation is bad and we want to change it. The Belarusian people must force Lukashenko to leave and give Belarus the opportunity to become a truly independent, developed and civilized country.
This is Gleb, a bar owner from Minsk. He told me he was never into Belarusian politics before this summer. The ninth of August changed everything. We were in our bar when we realized that the city centre was completely blocked by military forces. A grenade exploded close by, people started to run and the last thing I saw before closing the bar doors, was a soldier who captured my friend who tried to escape. I had 70 people hiding inside the bar, they did absolutely nothing and didn't protest or anything. Fortunately the bar saved them that night.
This is Anna, she started protesting when she was only 15 years old. Back then it was already clear that Lukashenko wasn't going to obey the law. Nobody in my family ever voted for him. This year, joining the massive protests, I had hoped we would win soon. It is so hard to maintain this hope now. I cannot strike because I don't work in a state owned company. I cannot speak up, because everyone in my surroundings is already on the Light's side. I go to Sunday marches every week, print and distribute political leaflets, donate money to support regimes victims. I'm not sure it is enough for winning. To be honest, I have started looking for options to relocate to a safe and free country.
These are Victoria and Mikhail, both 40 years old. They protest against the regime of Lukashenko because they want to live in a country laws and human rights are respected. Hopefully the Belarusian people can choose their new president in a fair way.
- REMCO KOERS -
It's been more than 100 days since the demonstrations started, and Alexander Lukashenko is still in power.
Today 22/11/2020 after the pacific protest more than 93 persons have been arrested with no visible reason. Please check the link for more info. Most of the belorussians are terribly affected by this tough situation.