The unity of the Lithuanian nation preserved its freedom that each person must strengthen and cherish, President Dalia Grybauskaitė said on Tuesday.
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

In commemoration of the events of 13 January 1991, when the Soviet army attempted to squash Lithuania's recently-declared independence, killing 14 and injuring over a thousand civilians in Vilnius, people are lighting candles in their windows.

"On 13 January 1991, we bravely protected our homeland against brutal force. We protected our home, language and the right to live in independent Lithuania. Our freedom was safeguarded by our unity that could not be broken or silenced - unity which everyone of us must strengthen and cherish," said President Grybauskaitė on the Freedom Defenders' Day in commemoration of the 24th anniversary of the tragic 13 January 1991 events.

In an attempt to overthrow the legally elected government of Lithuania, which declared Lithuania an independent country on 11 March the previous year, the Soviet army used force to take over Vilnius TV Tower as well as Radio and Television Building. The actions of paratroopers took the lives of 14 people and over a thousand civilians were wounded. However, the Soviet army did not dare to attack the Supreme Council - Reconstituent Seimas which was protected by tens of thousands of people.

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