The organizers and participants of the 5th World Congress against the Death Penalty marched yesterday in the streets of Madrid, the city that has become the capital of struggling for the abolition of the cruel and inhuman punishment around the world.
Representatives of the “Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus” campaign participated in the demonstration, carrying the event’s symbol, a red palm with the words “Say NO to the Death Penalty”, together with their own campaign leaflets, which were handed out to both the demonstrators and ordinary passers-by.
The march attracted much attention of Madrid residents and tourists. It was led by a group of young drummers, who set the rhythm for the entire column of demonstrators. The musicians were followed by representatives of countries in which the death penalty is used today, who took turns to carry “a symbol of what we hate and what we are fighting”, a giant loop.
The procession started and ended near the building of the city cinema Callao City Lights. The location that hosted the official closing ceremony of the Congress is also quite symbolic: a half-century ago, there was a demonstration of the feature film “The Executioner” (El verdugo, 1963), by the Spanish screenwriter and film director Luis Garcia Berlanga.
The 5th World Congress against the Death Penalty was held in Madrid on June 12-15 (following previous events in Strasbourg (2001), Montreal (2004), Paris (2007) and Geneva (2010)). The agenda of the Congress featured a round table discussion on the subject “Europe: A Strategy for the Future”, dealing with the contacts between the European Union, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, OSCE and Belarus and Russia on the issue of the death penalty. The event was attended by Valiantsin Stefanovich, one of the leaders of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus.”