The auction was held earlier this month at a Vilnius-based gallery of the Lithuanian Artists' Association and also online, and some 40 pieces of art were sold, the organizers said.

The money, after-tax and symbolic pay to the artists, will go to political prisoners and their families in Belarus.

"The support collected thanks to the artists and art lovers is a symbol that the regime's crimes have not been forgotten and we honestly care about the brave people of Belarus, our neighbors, fighting for their freedom, said Egle Ganda Bogdaniene, chair of the Lithuanian Artists' Association, which was one of the organizers of this auction.

One of the auction's patrons, Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said people in her country feel the Lithuanians' support. "Our spirit is high because we know we are not alone," she said, quoted in a statement.

There are no over 880 political prisoners in Belarus. The Lithuanian Artists' Association says they are kept in horrible conditions aimed at breaking their determination and will to resist and to intimidate them. People lose jobs and income and their families also feel the impact of persecution, the association said.

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