Officials see planned anti-NATO rally in Vilnius as possible 'provocation'

  • 2024-02-16
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Officials warned on Thursday that Saturday's planned protest outside Berlin's embassy in Vilnius against the German brigade's deployment in Lithuania "could be a provocation". 

People should be cautious about accepting "the invitation from a fake social network account to rally against NATO partners", Darius Buta of the National Crisis Management Center (NCMC) told BNS. 

"This could be a provocation aimed at involving Lithuanian citizens," he said. 

Vilnius Municipality told BNS that the organizers had not applied for permission to rally. 

Police also said they had no further information about the planned protest outside the German embassy.

"The police noticed this information in the public space," Vilnius police spokesman Tomas Brazenas told BNS. "Officers continue to monitor information in the public space and will react if the gathering is held illegally." 

The announcement of the event on Facebook describes NATO troops arriving in Lithuania as a threat to the country and accuses the government of giving "our territory to foreigners".

It claims that the organizer of the protest is Rafal Kowalski, but Viktoras Dauksas, the head of the disinformation analysis center, says this is a so-called sock puppet account.

"The true identity is hidden behind this account. The available information is not enough to prove that this is a real person," he told BNS.

According to Dauksas, the account, which was created in 2021, regularly shares misleading information or disinformation, but it does not reach a wide audience.