Unofficial rally in Vilnius quickly dispersed

  • 2009-02-03
  • TBT staff

VILNIUS - The "onion campaign" organized outside the Lithuanian parliament building by theFront Party grew into an unsanctioned rally and has ended within 1.5 hours.

Led by the Front Party leader Algirdas Paleckis, about 50 participants ofthe campaign marched down the centralVilnius avenue hauling a wheelbarrow with golden-sprayed onions. Anotherfew hundred people gathered outside the parliament building.

The police allowed merely a few protest action participants - Paleckis and Vilnius City Council member AudriusButkevicius - into the parliament, which had been surrounded by a metalprotective fence since the morning.

Held back 75 meters from the parliament, the crowd chanted:"Shame!" but acted in a peaceful manner.

Police officers escorted a few young men wearing masks out of the crowd.putting them in police cars. Under the Lithuanianlaw on public protest actions, participants are not allowed to conceal theirfaces.

The Feb. 3 protest rally was initially organized by the non-parliamentaryFront Party and the Small Enterprise and Trade Association.

However, the association decided to give up the plans after the governmentsatisfied its main demands. The Front Party did not receive a permit for therally from the Vilnius municipality.