Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has denounced as "scoundrels" people who were outraged at a dark-skinned girl being chosen to greet Pope Francis at Vilnius Airport last weekend.
Saulius Skvernelis
© DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

"Using such expressions against a child is deplorable," Skvernelis told the Ziniu Radijas radio station on Thursday, commenting on a heated discussion on social media about whether the girl of mixed parentage, dressed in a traditional Lithuanian costume, could represent the country.

"If she (the girl) hears me, I encourage her to disregard those vile people, those scoundrels (that's what I call them), to be happy with her studies, her classmates and friends, and to remember all her life how she greeted the pope and represented Lithuania," he said.

"Such people are no longer human beings to me. I think they are the least Lithuanians," he added emotionally.

The organizers say that the girl, a Catholic school student whose mother is Lithuanian and father is a foreigner, was chosen because she fluently speaks Italian.

BNS
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