On Thursday, around 400 people gathered outside the government office in central Vilnius to protest against the accommodation of migrants in the town of Dieveniškės in southeastern Lithuania.
People held banners against migrants, alleged police violence during the recent scuffles between anti-migrant protesters and the authorities, as well as flags of local communities and the Family Defence March.
Attending the protest, Jurij Kvetkovski, a resident of Rūdninkai that will house the migrant centre in a nearby military facility, said he came to support residents of Dieveniškės.
“They brought some 300 refugees close to our village. We will live near those bandits who are crossing the border illegally, they are not afraid of anything. We are concerned about our security, the security of our children, the security of our homes. I know what they do in Germany, Sweden, it’s impossible, they go around like they are at home,” he told BNS.
Dieveniškės residents have staged a number of protests against plans to accommodate migrants in the town, saying that the planned place was close to a local school.
The Interior Ministry had planned to house several hundred migrants in the town of some 500 people by September, but later withdrew those plans after protests by the local community. The premises will not be kept as a reserve, according to Bilotaitė
Earlier this week, several dozen people also blocked the road to the Rūdninkai military training area, where the authorities plan to house up to 1,500 migrants.
Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė later said a compromise was reached with the local residents.
Lithuania has been facing a major influx of irregular migrants crossing into the country from Belarus. Vilnius officials say the Minsk regime is facilitating the crossings, calling it “hybrid aggression”.