On 29 June 2022, a team of the Scottish Parliament and of the Belarusian Diaspora played each other in a football match. The event in Holyrood Park (Edinburgh) was to raise awareness for the situation of political prisoners in Belarus. The Belarusian team won 10:7 against the team of the Scottish Parliament.
As a show of solidarity with Belarusians who are fighting for freedom and democracy in their country, and to help highlight the plight of the thousands who will unjustly spend years in prison, the Scottish Parliament football team played against the Belarusian diaspora in the UK.
Liam McArthur MSP is a symbolic godparent in Libereco’s godparenthood campaign. He stated: “In Belarus, political activists and journalists are facing extreme violence and torture. As well as allowing us to forge links between Scotland and the Belarusian diaspora, I hope that this game can help to raise awareness of the plight of political prisoners in Belarus; and encourage MSPs from all parties to share their support for those wrongfully detained by the Belarusian state. The international community has a duty to put pressure on the Belarusian state to end its abuses of human rights and to stand in solidarity with the Belarusian people, and their right to peaceful political protest and freedom of the press.”
Ken McBain, representative of Libereco in the UK, said: “The original idea for this game was to support specific prisoners, so they would know a game was being played for them and to encourage them. But, the regime and prison authorities don’t like people knowing about their awful treatment of people who have done nothing wrong. So, it isn’t safe to publicise individuals in case they get worse treatment in prison as punishment. So, this game is for all the prisoners. This game is to show all of them that they are supported and remembered in Scotland.”
The game raised awareness for the over 1200 political prisoners in Belarus who are kept hostage by the regime of Aliaksander Lukaschenka. Many thanks to the players for participating, especially to the Members of the Scottish Parliament Liam McArthur, Michael Marra and Fulton MacGregor.