Representatives of Vilnius’s American community, joined by local volunteers, held a “March for Our Lives” at Kudirkas Square on Saturday, March 24. The event was one of more than 820 such events held worldwide, inspired by the student activists from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Forida, where 17 students and teachers were shot dead on February 14, 2018, the organisers of the event wrote.
March for Our Lives event in Vilnius

The events were intended to honor the memory of the 17 Florida victims and other innocent victims of gun violence, and to raise awareness of the problem and suggest possible solutions. The events held in hundreds of cities throughout the U.S. that day have been described as the biggest protest marches in the U.S. since the Vietnam War era of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Volunteers in Vilnius made available information in English and Lithuanian about the scale of gun violence in the U.S. and exchanged views on that and other issues. Participants included schoolteachers, students, and parents from several schools, among them an American exchange student and an American school teacher, who are both spending a year in Lithuania; members of the multinational international business community and owners of small businesses; university teachers; retired persons; and members of additional expat communities in Vilnius besides Americans. Although the Vilnius event was inspired by the Florida students, it was organized and funded exclusively by residents of Vilnius, acting independently of the organizers of the U.S. and other worldwide events. The principal means of attracting interest in the event was the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/VilniusMarchforOurLives/

“Death rates from guns are so much higher in the U.S. than they are anywhere in Europe, and that’s not what I want people to know my country for,” one of the participants said. “Even though we live abroad, we vote and pay taxes in the U.S. We visit there, we have family there, we care about what is happening there, and wanted to show solidarity with the students from Florida who inspired these marches.”

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