Tbilisi’s iconic TV Tower will tonight be illuminated in yellow, green and red to mark Lithuanian Freedom Defenders' Day, commemorating victims of Soviet aggression in 1991.
A number of events were scheduled in the Georgian capital city to mark the 25th anniversary of the Freedom Defenders’ Day today.
A special discussion, devoted to this date, will feature Georgia’s Parliament Speaker David Usupashvili, Vice Speaker Giorgi Baramidze and writer Davit Turashvili at the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia at 5pm.
Symbolising Georgia’s solidarity to the people of Lithuania, Tbilisi TV Tower will be illuminated in the colours of the Lithuanian flag from 7pm to 9pm this evening.
The day will be concluded with Georgia’s Public Broadcaster airing an interview with Vytautas Landsbergis who held the role of Chairman of the Parliament during the January Events. A documentary titled Freedom’s Trajectory by Lithuanian and Swiss directors will also be broadcast.
Each year on 13 January, Lithuania marks Freedom Defenders' Day to honour the memory of those killed by the Soviet army in Vilnius in 1991.
25 years ago today, unarmed Lithuanians defended their freedom against Soviet tanks. A day to remember. pic.twitter.com/b4cR8pzh3a— Martina Quick (@martinaquick) January 13, 2016
On January 13, 1991, the Soviet Union used force to overthrow Lithuania's legitimate government which declared the country's independence on March 11, 1990. More than 1,000 unarmed Lithuanian civilians were injured and 14 were killed during an attempt by the Soviet army and Special Forces to take over the Vilnius TV Tower.
Although the Soviet troops managed to seize control of the TV Tower and the building of the Radio and Television of Lithuania, they did not dare to attack thousands of people who guarded the Seimas (Parliament) of Lithuania.
The Lithuanian Embassy to Georgia said January 13 was comparable to the incident in Georgia on April 9, 1989 when at least twenty people were tragically killed as Soviet troops attacked peaceful protesters in Tbilisi.
Earlier this afternoon Parliament Speaker Usupashvili and Lithuanian Ambassador to Georgia Giedrius Puodziunas laid a wreath at the memorial of April 9 tragedy victims in Tbilisi.