2020.06.11 09:43

Lithuanian police launch probe into Black Lives Matter rally in Vilnius

BNS, LRT.lt2020.06.11 09:43

The police in Lithuania are investigating eight cases of administrative offenses, as well as a public order violation, during the Black Lives Matter rally in Vilnius last week.

The administrative offences include holding placards with swearwords, such as “f**k the police”.

"We want people to express their beliefs in a peaceful and reasonable way – without using such epithets and insulting institutions or specific officers, or, even worse, using violence," Police Commissioner General Renatas Požėla said on Wednesday.

Read more: LRT FACTS. Was Antifa behind the Black Lives Matter rally in Vilnius?

Meanwhile, the public order offence centres around a minor scuffle which broke out during the march. A demonstrator tore a placard held by one of the dozen anti-protesters and knocked him onto the ground.

According to the police chief, people who held offensive placards will be subject to administrative liability and those involved in the scuffle could face criminal charges.

The Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights criticised the police for investigating the content of the placards, saying it hinders free speech.

Around 1,000 young people rallied in Vilnius last Friday to express solidarity with anti-racism protests in the US and around the world triggered by the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer.

The crowd marched from Vilnius' central Katedros Square to the US embassy where they kneeled for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the time that the Minnesota officer held his knee on Floyd's neck.

Read more: ‘We are all human beings’. People in Vilnius march in support of US protests

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