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Belarus marked Freedom Day on 25 March to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Belarus's independence. While the authorisation of the celebratory event was appreciated, a requested rally was not allowed and the response of the Belarusian authorities was disproportionate.
Democratic principles and fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly, association and of the media must be fully ensured in any democratic society and the European Union in this context expects that all recently arrested citizens who are still being detained are released immediately.
Steps taken by Belarus to respect universal fundamental freedoms, rule of law, and human rights will remain vital in shaping the European Union's future relationship with the country.