Following the Forum on March 12-13, opposition of Homel voblast asked the International Ice Hockey Federation to abolish the holding of the Ice Hockey World Championship in Belarus in 2014, unless the Belarusian opposition leaders are released from prison and "their criminal cases are completely closed."
Participants of the forum believe that Belarus is not suitable for such a large sporting event at the moment, as dozens of innocent people, in their opinion, are behind bars instead of in the ranks of fans.
«Belarus’s authoritarian government is ready for any provocation against civil society and people with citizenship in order to prevent any democratic reforms,» Homel opposition said.
According to them, the actions of the Belarusian authorities are caused by the fear of losing power and awareness of the lack of support from the majority of population, the desire to intimidate the activists of the democratic institutions and society as a whole.»
«Criminal cases, initiated during the presidential campaign, especially with regard to participants in a peaceful protest on December 19, 2010, including presidential candidates, are fabricated and remind political reprisal of government opponents. All criminal cases should be closed without any delay, all the arrested should be released and charges lifted,» believe the participants of the forum.
According to Telegraf, March 9, the U.S. Senate called on the International Ice Hockey Federation to postpone the scheduled World Hockey Championship in Belarus in 2014 untill the country released all the prisoners, viewed as political in the United States. The proposal was made by Sen. Dick Durbin and Joe Lieberman.