2019.09.13 13:00

Lithuanian police will not investigate protesters that reinstalled Noreika plaque

BNS2019.09.13 13:00

Lithuanian police will not launch an investigation after protesters unilaterally reinstalled a plaque to Jonas Noreika, a Lithuanian military officer known as Generolas Vetra (General Storm).

The police has referred the case to the Department of Cultural Heritage, according to Julija Samorokovskaja, spokeswoman for Vilnius County Police. She also told BNS that an investigation is underway into possible law violations on public gatherings.

Read more: Protesters reinstall controversial Noreika plaque in Vilnius

Vidmantas Bezaras, director of the Department of Cultural Heritage, told BNS specialists are now looking into the situation and an official investigation has not yet been launched.

"We see no damage to the valuable characteristics, which is key, but there's a procedural discrepancy," said Bezaras. "The submitted draft was in the right format but it missed [...] the library's approval," and if the library's management agrees, "we would not object," he added.

Last week, activists put a new memorial plaque to Noreika, replacing the old one removed in July under the initiative of Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius.

The memorial plaque to Noreika, a pre-war Lithuanian military officer and an anti-Soviet resistance fighter also known as Generolas Vėtra (General Storm), was taken down in late July following the initiative of Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius.

Read more: Accusations against Noreika are ‘outrageous’, but we shouldn’t ‘heroize controversial figures’ – experts

He said he made the decision because Noreika, the head of Šiauliai County during the Nazi occupation, signed documents establishing a Jewish ghetto and expropriating Jewish property.

The move was welcomed by the Lithuanian Jewish Community and parts of the society, but also led to protests by Noreika supporters who point to the fact that he fought both against the Soviets and the Nazis, and was later imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp.

Read more: Political fallout continues after protesters reinstall Noreika plaque

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