2020.02.17 17:30

Lithuania marks Independence Restoration Day – in pictures 2020.02.17 17:30

Lithuania marked the 102nd Independence Restoration Day on Sunday with a youth march, commemorative runs, as well as the traditional gathering by the bonfires along Gedimino Avenue in Vilnius.

The day kicked off at the Simono Daukanto square in front of the presidential palace with a ceremonial raising of the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian flags. At the event, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda delivered a speech calling for acessible education.

Read more: Losing and finding Lithuania's Act of Independence

"We can no longer waste talents if we wish to build a brighter tomorrow for our nation," he said, according to BNS. "We must focus on achieving the best possible progress across all areas [...] because this is the only way to bring up a new generation of free and independent nation builders."

In the morning, youths marched along the so-called Path of Statehood from the Vilnius Cathedral to the Rasų cemetery where figures important to Lithuania's history are laid to rest.

Elsewhere in the country, initiatives to mark the day included marches and displays by the country’s Riflemen’s Union, a dancing marathon, as well as a plunge into ice-cold water.

Later in Vilnius, Vytautas Landsbergis, the the country's first post-independence leader after the Soviet occupation, spoke from the balcony of the House of Signatories where the original independence act was signed in 1918.

As the sun set, people gathered around bonfires along Gedimino avenue, a yearly tradition to mark Lithuania's independence commemorations.

In 2018, 100 bonfires were lit up to celebrate the centinery of the country’s independene. Last year, 70 bonfires were dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the independence act signed by Lithuania’s anti-Soviet partisan commanders in 1949.

This year, 30 bonfires marked the approaching 30-year anniversary of the March 1990 independence declaration.

Read more: Lithuania's independence act signed by partisans located in Vilnius