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2019.08.26 13:00

Lithuanian Foreign Ministry investigates Chinese Embassy's involvement in Hong Kong rally in Vilnius

BNS2019.08.26 13:00

Lithuania's Foreign Ministry is looking into whether the Chinese Embassy was involved in an incident on Friday during a Hong Kong support rally.

A minor dispute took place between the rally participants and a group of counter-protesters who arrived with posters supporting the Chinese government.

According to Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius, the ministry is checking whether the Chinese Embassy staff directly participated in the rally in support of China.

“We are now looking into whether embassy staff participated in the demonstration. If so, it is incompatible with the diplomatic status, and we would consider the situation and possible measures. If they only observed [the rally], then there's no problem,” the minister told BNS on Monday.

“Lithuania is a free country, with freedom of speech [guaranteed], and anyone can express different opinions if that does not violate public order,” Linkevičius added.

On Friday afternoon, several hundred people took part in a demonstration in Vilnius to voice support to Hong Kong activists protesting the Chinese government's crackdown on the island city's freedoms.

During the rally in the central square in Vilnius, Beijing supporters with Chinese flags initially observed the event from afar, but once the participants started leaving, they came closer to the organisers. Verbal disputes led to a brawl between Hong Kong and China supporters.

Upon arrival, police officers looked into the circumstances of the incident and noted the names of several people. Two people from the Chinese supporters' side were taken away.

Read more: Hong Kong solidarity rally in Vilnius met with Chinese counter-protesters – photos