The Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant could be operational within two years. The protesters want the project to be stopped and they officially launched a petition campaign during the rally.
The petitioners aim to gather 50,000 signatures and call a referendum on a law preventing current and future governments of Lithuania from purchasing and re-exporting electricity from the Belarusian plant.
Several former ministers joined Conservative leader and MEP Gabrielius Landsbergis and his grandfather Vytautas Landsbergis to express their anger at the Belarusian project.
Gabrielius Landsbergis said: “The main goal of today’s protest is to tell the Lukashenko government and their diplomatic representation here that this plan to build right at the border with Lithuania and its capital is unacceptable.”
He added: “We also want to make sure that concerned Lithuanian citizens and those who are concerned about their children’s future will sign our petition for a safe and clean environment.”
Former Lithuanian ambassador to the USA Žygimantas Pavilionis, now a conservative candidate in this autumn’s general elections, is one of the leaders of the campaign against the Astravyets plant which is just an hour’s drive from the Lithuanian capital.
“Four years have passed without our own nuclear power plant project moving forward as a result of the government’s inaction,” said Žygimantas Pavilionis. “Now we have a Kremlin-sponsored nuclear power plant being built right at Vilnius doorsteps, violating international recommendations and agreements of proximity to populated areas.”
The petitioners collected over 100 signatures during the rally.