‘Mini-Europe’ commemorates the 'Baltic Way'
Archived Articles 19 Aug 2009  EWR
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euractiv.com
The Brussels miniature park ‘Mini-Europe’ will this Sunday (23 August) organise an event commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the “Baltic Way”, the longest ever human chain which in 1989 became a potent symbol in the independence struggle of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from the then Soviet Union.


Six hundred people - for whom the entrance to the park will be free of charge on a first-come–first-served basis by registering online - will form at 3 p.m. on Sunday a human chain through the park, symbolically recreating the 600 km-long human chain from Tallinn via Riga to Vilnius, formed twenty years ago.


BACKGROUND:
On 23 August 1939, the foreign ministers of the USSR and Germany Vyacheslav Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop signed a treaty which divided the spheres of influence of the two countries and led to the incorporation of the three Baltic States - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - to the then USSR.

50 years later, on 23 August 1989, the three nations demanded recognition of the secret clauses in the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and the re-establishment of the independence of the Baltic States. On the same day, more than a million people joined hands to create a 600 km long human chain from Tallinn to Vilnius, crossing Riga on its way. The event remained in history under the name “the Baltic Way”.

It was the first peaceful demonstration that was not broken up by Moscow, which had an enormous impact on the rest of the former Eastern bloc.

Two years later, continuing popular pressure led to the independence of the three Baltic States. In 2004, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined the EU.

Six hundred people - for whom the entrance to the park will be free of charge on a first-come–first-served basis by registering online - will form at 3 p.m. on Sunday (23 August) a human chain through the park, symbolically recreating the 600 km-long human chain from Tallinn via Riga to Vilnius, formed twenty years ago.

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