The Lithuanian Riflemen's Union celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary on Saturday. A swearing-in ceremony of the organisation's new members was part of the celebration in the Cathedral Square in Vilnius.
Over 500 new riflemen gave oaths in the presence of Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, other politicians and army officers.
The president said Lithuania would not be strong and independent today had it not been for riflemen who took part in the independence fights one hundred years ago and helped to form a regular army.
National Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis, who also joined the swearing-in ceremony on Saturday, said Lithuanian residents “have a riflemen's gene” which allowed people to unite in critical moments despite opinion, social status and professional differences.
The event was also attended by hundreds of current riflemen, their family members and the organization's supporters.
Established in 1919, the Lithuanian Riflemen's Union is a state-supported volunteer paramilitary public organization. It now has over 10,000 members.
In case of a military conflict, the riflemen would assist the military in maintaining public order, protecting key infrastructure, collecting intelligence and performing other tasks.