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2019.05.02 08:14

International Labour Day rally in Vilnius demanded social rights and solidarity

Between 200 and 300 people rallied by the parliament building in Vilnius on the International Labour Day, demanding decent pay and equal rights.

“Last year, we marked May 1 as a celebration, but this year we spoke with different vulnerable groups and decided that this is the day when we come to demand our rights,” Inga Ruginienė, the president of the Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation and one of the event's organisers, told BNS on Wednesday.

She says that people in Lithuania still have to fight for social justice and poverty is widespread. The rally on the Independence Square, a march along Gediminas Avenue and a demonstration outside the prime minister's office were to remind the Government what its priorities should be.

“For Lithuania without poverty”, “European wages for Lithuanian workers”, “Fighting for one's rights is not a Soviet remnant”, read some of the banners.

Over 200 people marched on the capital city's main street, chanting “We are not selling our rights”, “We want labour rights and solidarity”. Employees of the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Land Service marched under the slogan “No to mirroring”, protesting against the Government's plans to set up a “mirror” agriculture ministry in Kaunas.

In addition to labour unions, other groups participated in Wednesday's events, Ruginienė said: organisations representing disabled people, LGBTQ, youth, education and healthcare workers.

The leadership of the Social Democratic Party joined the rallies as well.

“Many different groups, each coming with its message. Rights is the keyword,” Ruginienė explained.

“We demand our right to decent pay, to equal opportunities, to free speech and access to information, we demand equal opportunities for disabled people to integrate into the labour market.”

The demands also included free healthcare, education and other public services, equal pay for equal work, equal rights for foreign workers in Lithuania and urban development geared towards people's needs rather than business.

Anoter event marking the International Labour Day was organised in Kaunas, Lithuania's second city.