On Sunday, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda joined the human chain stretching from Vilnius to the Belarusian border to show solidarity with the neighbouring country’s protesters.
He delivered a roadside speech, calling on Lithuania to become to Belarus what Iceland became to Lithuania 30 years ago. In 1991, the nordic country was the first nation to recognise Lithuania’s independence.
"It became a beacon of freedom that showed the light at the end of a very long tunnel of oppression. It gave us strength and hope. Our people have done everything else: they have raised Lithuania with their hands. Lovingly, carefully and patiently,” he said.
Read more: People in Lithuania form human chain from Vilnius to Belarusian border
“I have no doubt that the people of Belarus will do exactly the same. Let's just offer them strength with our courage, belief and shoulders.”
"Freedom is the right to determine your country's future in a fair election. Freedom is cherished so much by those nations that were derived of it for a long time. That's why Lithuania had no doubt and did not wait to voice its full support for the people of Belarus, trying to free themselves from the shackles of deprivation," Nausėda said.
"I am proud of my nation that responded to a call to take part in the Freedom Way to inspire the people of Belarus, as we are not indifferent and we will never be indifferent," the president said.
"Today we say: we are with you, free Belarus, and we are offering you our helping hand."
Nausėda finished his speech by saying “Zhyve Belarus” (Long live Belarus), a chant used by protesters in the neighbouring country.
The Freedom Way stretched 32 kilometers from Vilnius to Medininkai, a town close to the Belarusian border.
The Freedom Chain coincided with the 31st anniversary of the Baltic Way. On August 23, 1989, over a million people formed a human chain spanning Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, to demand independence from the Soviet Union.
According to Laisvės TV, the event’s organisers, over 50,000 people took part in the event. Participants also included Lithuania’s former presidents Valdas Adamkus and Dalia Grybauskaitė, as well as ministers, lawmakers, mayors, and other public figures.