On the night of January 13, 1991, massive peaceful resistance of Lithuanian citizens to an attempt of the Soviet troops to seize the Vilnius TV tower, the Radio and Television Committee building, the Parliament, and other buildings important for a coup and to take over their control took place. 14 people were killed at the TV tower, and over 600 of peaceful unarmed civilians were injured. Although some objects were seized, the final goals of the campaign were not achieved. Soon afterwards the Soviet Army had to retreat from the occupied objects.
To mark the event, the 13th of January was declared the Day of the Defenders of Freedom. Every year, this important date of national history is also commemorated in Klaipėda. This year, on the eve of January 13, the fires were burning not only in the southern and central, but also in the northern part of Klaipėda, in the square of the Klaipėda University campus. The representatives of the Dragūnų batallion, their families, and the community of Klaipėda University tended the memorial campfires together. The University Chancellor Evaldas Lukauskas greeted the participants of the event, and historian of the Institute of Baltic Region History and Archaeology Vytautas Jokubauskas briefly spoke about the historic event. Everybody was invited to taste soldiers’ porridge and tea.
Photos by R. Gorodeckienė