A ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Baltic Way protest has been taking place in Lithuania. It was one of the key events in the Baltic states struggle against Soviet occupation and the three prime ministers of the Baltic states gathered in the capital, Vilnius, as the commemorative Baltic Assembly torch was relit in Independence Square.
For Lithuania’s prime minister – the protest’s peaceful message was too loud for the Kremlin to ignore. “I think that it was a strong symbol which was shown exactly at the time, which shows that for the Soviet empire there was no way to stay. It was clear,” said Andrius Kubilius.
On this day twenty years ago, millions of people joined hands across the three Baltic countries to call for an end to Soviet occupation. The nearly unbroken 600 kilometre long chain they formed is known as the Baltic Way. The event was staged on the 50th anniversary of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, which carved up Central and Eastern Europe between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russsia.