VILNIUS - Up to 1,000 people gathered in central Vilnius on Saturday to attend a rally organized by the controversial Lithuanian Family Movement, with a stated goal of defending the values enshrined in the country's Constitution.
"We want to ensure the Constitution is not violated as now there are violations everywhere, the Lithuanian language is being humiliated, we have introduced the letters q and w, and they want to adopt a law on families-non-families. People should vote on such a law in a referendum, and not by the Seimas gathered from some corners. LGBT people are also climbing over people's heads," Vytautas, a 68-year-old construction worker from Siauliai District, told BNS.
On Saturday, he joined other people in the Cathedral Square in central Vilnius, carrying Lithuanian national and historical flags, regional flags and posters.
The Lithuanian Family Movement's website stated that rally participants would speak out against the Law on Civil Union, which is now being debated in the Seimas, as well as the government's policies in the face of the sharp increase in energy prices.
Vitolda Rackova, a spokeswoman for the Lithuanian Family Movement, said the people who joined the rally "are doing the work the opposition in the Seimas should be doing".
"We don't have that opposition today, that's why you are here, but don't forget to demand that they do their job," she said, addressing the people from a stage.
The rally was held under the protection of a large police force, with the Seimas and the government buildings fenced off.
Renaldas Zekonis, chief of the Vilnius County Chief Police Commissariat, said no incidents were recorded during the rally.