Central and Eastern Europe

Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Day of the Defenders of Freedom

On Wednesday, 13 January, at 9.55 a.m., while commemorating the 30th anniversary of the defence of the restored independence of Lithuania, Lithuanian Seimas kindly invites you to watch a video recording of the celebration of the Day of the Defenders of Freedom and the Freedom Prize awarding ceremony.

During the broadcast from the Seimas Hall of the Act of 11 March, you will hear the speeches delivered by: Gitanas Nausėda, President of the Republic of Lithuania; Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas; Vytautas Landsbergis, President of the Supreme Council–Reconstituent Seimas; Robertas Vaitkus, teacher, Chairman of the Bičiulystė Society of Relatives of the Victims of January 13 and son of the freedom defender Vytautas Vaitkus killed on 13 January 1991 and posthumously awarded the 1st Class Order of the Cross of Vytis; Dalia Steiblienė, medical doctor,  former anaesthesiologist and reanimatologist of Vilnius City Clinical Hospital No 1 (St. Jacob), who was on duty on the night of January 13; and Father Julius Sasnauskas, Franciscan monk  and Soviet dissident.

Speeches will also be delivered by Paulė Kuzmickienė, Chair of the Seimas Freedom Prize Commission, and Sviatlana Cichanouskaja, leader of the democratic Belarus, who will be handed over the 2020 Freedom Prize dedicated to the democratic opposition of Belarus. The aim of this Seimas award is to evaluate the achievements and contribution of individuals and organisations to the protection of human rights, development of democracy, and promotion of cross-border cooperation in the fight for free self-determination and sovereignty of the peoples of Eastern and Central Europe.

For the first time after 1991, the Seimas is not holding a traditional solemn commemoration on this day and instead invites the people of Lithuania to pay tribute to the defenders of freedom while staying at home and lighting candles to honour them.

The commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Day of the Defenders of Freedom and the Freedom Prize awarding ceremony will be streamed on the Seimas website, television programme Seimas-tiesiogiai, Seimas accounts on Facebook and YouTube, and LRT television and radio.

On the night of 13 January 1991, Loreta Asanavičiūtė, Virginijus Druskis, Darius Gerbutavičius, Rolandas Jankauskas, Rimantas Juknevičius, Alvydas Kanapinskas, Algimantas Petras Kavoliukas, Vidas Maciulevičius, Titas Masiulis, Alvydas Matulka, Apolinaras Juozas Povilaitis, Ignas Šimulionis, and Vytautas Vaitkus died when defending the TV Tower and the building of the Lithuanian Radio and Television Committee. Vytautas Koncevičius died later in February as the result of his injuries.

More information about the events dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Day of the Defenders of Freedom, the events of 13 January and the commemoration of their memory is available on the Seimas website here and here.

Source and Image: press release Seimas

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