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16 Dec, 2020 17:30

Stocking it to the man! Belarusian women unite in sharing pictures of their tights in solidarity with arrested beauty queen

Stocking it to the man! Belarusian women unite in sharing pictures of their tights in solidarity with arrested beauty queen

Riot shields, tear gas and now, lingerie! Belarus’ opposition movement has moved from marching for civil rights to showing off their stockings and tights in a new social media campaign to show solidarity with an imprisoned model.

Olga Khizinkova, who was named Miss Belarus in 2008, was arrested in November at one of the country’s colossal rallies against embattled leader Alexander Lukashenko. She was convicted in court of a series of charges relating to participating in an unauthorized protest. The former beauty queen had been due to be released last Friday, but her family, who had been waiting outside the detention center, reported that an additional nine days were added to her sentence, blocking her release. 

In a show of support for Khizinkova, activists are taking their fight from the street to the more discreet realm of social media, sharing pictures of themselves wearing tights, along with the hashtag ‘I am Olga Khizinkova’. Many are pictured with boxes of stockings bearing a modelling photo of her. One user, posting a snap of her fishnets in front of the red and white protest flag used by the opposition, told of her hope for change in a country “where a human life was worth nothing and could be ruined in a moment to please a flawed system.”

Belarus has been paralyzed by protests in recent months, after Lukashenko declared victory in August’s presidential election, which the opposition and many international organizations claim was rigged in his favor. Since then, tens of thousands have taken to the streets to call for a new vote, and women have played a central role in the campaign, frequently handing flowers to riot police officers, or throwing themselves around fellow activists to prevent their arrest.

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