Lithuania marks 24th anniversary of Freedom Defenders’ Day

In the morning, all schools, state institutions and embassies traditionally light candles in memory of the victims.

The Seimas of Lithuania (parliament) will hold a solemn sitting to mark the Freedom Defenders’ Day, during which Polish dissident editor-in-chief of the daily Gazeta Wyborcza Adam Michnik will be presented with the Freedom Prize.

Following the solemn sitting, a flag hoisting ceremony will be held in the Independence Square and later freedom fighters will be honored at Antakalnis Cemetery.

On 13 January, Lithuania marks the Freedom Defenders’ Day to honor the memory of those killed by the Soviet army in Vilnius in 1991.

On 13 January 1991, the Soviet Union used force to overthrow Lithuania’s legitimate government which declared the country’s independence on 11 March 1990. Over 1,000 unarmed Lithuanian civilians were injured and 14 were killed during an attempt by the Soviet army and Special Forces to take over the Vilnius TV Tower.

Although the Soviet troops managed to seize control of the TV Tower and the building of the Radio and Television of Lithuania, they did not dare to attack thousands of people guarding the Seimas.

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