The meeting was attended by Vytautas Landsbergis, former chairman of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas and de facto first head of state of Lithuania after the restoration of its independence, by freedom defenders, members of parliament, members of the Riflemen’s Union, volunteers and guests from across Lithuania.

“13 January is a victory day. The day when we did not give in to force and coercion, and defended Lithuania’s freedom and independence. (&) I thank every one of you who clinched this victory courageously and self-sacrificingly,” said Čmilytė-Nielsen.

She added that the Soviet Union’s bloody provocation failed, while Lithuania held out and secured its independence.

Lithuania declared its independence from the Soviet Union on 11 March 1990. The Soviet Union retaliated by imposing an economic blockade on Lithuania from 18 April through 2 July 1990. Whereas on 10 January 1991, President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev demanded the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas to revoke “anti-constitutional laws” and to restore the constitution of the USSR in Lithuania. On 13 January 1991, the Soviet Army stormed Vilnius TV Tower and the Lithuanian National Radio and Television building killing 14 civilians and injuring more than 700 in the process.

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