Mass Baltic protest remembered in Canberra

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Baltic Way in Toompea. Photo: Estonian National Archive.

TODAY (August 23) marks the 30th anniversary of the day when more than a million residents of the Baltic States joined hands for freedom in what became known as “The Baltic Way”.

Canberrans will join members of the Baltic community in Nara Park on Sunday (August 25) to commemorate one of the most peaceful political mass demonstrations in recent history.

A human chain was formed by 2 million people, stretching from Toompea in Tallinn, Estonia, across the river Daugava in Riga, Latvia, to reach the Gediminas’ Tower in Vilnius, Lithuania — a total length of 675.5 kilometres.

The Baltic Way demonstration was timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the so-called “Treaty of Non-aggression” between Nazi Germany and the USSR which had given the Soviet Union sway over the region.

The demonstration garnered international attention and prompted democratic movements elsewhere in the world. Less than two years later, the Soviet Union collapsed and the Baltic States became independent again.

The Rotary Club of Canberra Burley Griffin invites members the public to join members of the local Baltic communities at the World Peace Bell in Nara Park from 11.45am for noon this Sunday, August 25. Those needing seating should bring a chair.

 

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