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2019.07.25 15:05

‘We Are the Baltic Way’ – Lithuania prepares to celebrate 30th anniversary of landmark protest

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BNS2019.07.25 15:05

The 30th anniversary of the 1989 peaceful anti-Soviet demonstration, in which two million people formed a human chain stretching from Vilnius to Tallinn, will be marked this year with the slogan ‘Batlijos kelias – tai mes’ (‘We Are the Baltic Way’).

Lithuanian organizers say the slogan symbolizes the unity and continuity between the older generation, who participated in the Baltic Way, and young people.

“We have young people [...] who were not yet born, but want to join in and that's why we coined the slogan 'We Are the Baltic Way',” Dalia Urbanavičienė, the chairwoman of the Council for the Safeguarding of Ethnic Culture, said at a news conference on Thursday.

A key event will take place in Saločiai, a small town on the Lithuanian-Latvian border.

“The main event, a get-together of Lithuanians and Latvians with song and dance, should take place there,” Urbanavičienė said.

According to organisers, this year's programme will also include traditional commemorative events, such as a three-day run along the Baltic Way route.

A group of activists have recently unveiled an initiative to bring 10,000 people together to form a 10-kilometer human chain in Vilnius this August, with plans to hold such commemorations every five years to create a new tradition and eventually repeat the uninterrupted human chain across all the three countries on the 50th anniversary in 2039.

On August 23, 1989, around 2 million people in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia joined hands in a 650-kilometer human chain stretching from Tallinn to Vilnius to mark 50 years since the signing of the German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact, also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and secret protocols that divided Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence.

The Baltic Way has been included into the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.