The curtain has been pulled back on the highly secretive Family March: no Ukrainian flags and no journalists

The Great March in Defence of the Family, which last year attracted a crowd of thousands of people, is moving to the Kaunas district this year. According to the organisers, the change of plans was forced by the decision of the Vilnius City Municipality not to grant permission to hold the rally again in Vingis Park. This is why they say that this year they will protest in the countryside or at a rural tourist farm.

The Great March in Defence of the Family, which last year attracted a crowd of thousands of people, is moving to the Kaunas district this year.
The Great March in Defence of the Family, which last year attracted a crowd of thousands of people, is moving to the Kaunas district this year.
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Lrytas.lt

May 6, 2022, 12:44 PM

It is not easy to find one because, as Raimondas Grinevičius, the head of the Lithuanian Family Movement, claims, there have already been several cases when, after agreeing to rent premises and sending details that the Lithuanian Family Movement intends to rent it, a negative reply is received.

In addition, this year's event has a requirement – only those wearing Lithuanian symbols are allowed to attend, so those wearing Ukrainian flags are not welcome at the protest.

The location is currently confidential

Last year's Great March in Defence of the Family, which turned into a huge protest, seems to be more modest this year. On 15 May, members of the Lithuanian Family Movement and their supporters will be gathering in the Kaunas district, but the place where they will be gathering is still unclear.

„The plan is to use Kaunas county, to be in the middle of Lithuania. There are fields, airfields, areas, farmers' hectares, and farmhouses. People will surely find somewhere to gather. And Šimašius should wrap Vingis Park in a suitcase and wait for the end of his term of office,“ R.Grinevičius told the lrytas.lt portal.

Some time ago, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius announced that the municipality had cancelled the permit for this year's event, the Great March in Defence of the Family because the organisers of the March were actively supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Although the municipality's decision has been appealed to the court, the Lithuanian Family Movement no longer seems to have any hope of getting a favourable verdict, as the appeal is not going to be heard, and all the attorneys are busy with their work.

The organisers say they will announce the specific location of this year's protest only „minutes or hours before the event“ when asked why the secrecy, Grinevičius explained that he wanted to protect the participants of the action.

„We are not hiding. We want to protect both our members who will go to the event and the owners of private spaces. Everything needs to be protected. How is it from what? If, for example, we need a room for a meeting in the region, we agree on it, send the details of who to invoice, and the event magically appears in that room. We have been like this for a year.

If we need to print promotional material, we take it to Poland to print it because no company in Lithuania will do it because they are afraid of reprisals.

Just as the opposition in Moscow is hacking away at Putin, so are we here,“ he explained.

Not allowed in with Ukrainian flags?

So far, the programme of the event is still being prepared, and the demands of the participants remain the same as last year – a strict „no“ to the Partnership Law, ratification of the Istanbul Convention, etc.

„The programme is such that a minimum period of time will be devoted to the rally and demands, followed by cultural programmes, and then, during the interludes, to art groups and the like,“ said the head of the Lithuanian Families Movement.

The description of the protest action states that people can only come to the event dressed in national or Lithuanian Family Movement symbols, and it is forbidden to bring flags of other countries. When asked whether participants would be allowed to carry Ukrainian paraphernalia, Grinevičius replied in the negative.

„The message is that you cannot use political paraphernalia, party flags, flags of other countries. It must be purely Lithuanian – tricolours, flags, flags. If the people who donate money want only national symbols, that's all there will have to be. That is what the Lithuanian festival is for. We don't interfere in politics, in geopolitical things,“ he said.

„Why are you focusing on Ukraine? You can bring the flag of Turkey or Israel. In order not to escalate all those topics and confrontations, we have made it a Lithuanian holiday, and the paraphernalia must be Lithuanian,“ the event organiser added.

Asked whether the event was going to devote time to the topic of the war in Ukraine, Grinevičius said he had not discussed it.

He also stressed that journalists would probably not be welcome at this year's protest.

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