Outcry over Open Beach in Vilnius

Open Beach, an open-air beach bar that received permission from Vilnius' municipal authorities to set up on the city's historic Lukiškės Square, has caused an outcry not just in the national press. Sun loungers now adorn the site where supporters of an uprising against the czarist regime were hanged in the 19th century, and where the KGB later resided. A new law classifying the site as a historical monument could now put an end to the summer fun.

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Lrytas (LT) /

Stressed society in a sandstorm

This dispute shows how stressed Lithuanian society is, writer Sigitas Parulskis smirks in Lrytas:

“True to the spirit of Nietzsche (God, i.e. the old system of values, is dead), the Liberals are scattering sand on the foggy culture of memory and sitting down on it with bare bottoms. The conservatives are preparing to fight for their eternal values. But only a disturbed psyche could feel more comfortable on this Open Beach than at the waterfront, and our 'eternal values' reek of the 19th century. The necessary redefinition of terms such as 'fatherland', 'state', 'society', and 'people' is stressing us out. ... We feel attracted by Western consumerism, but at the same time we can't quite say goodbye to our historic national fetishes.”

Delfi (LT) /

Punish the Mayor

The English signs in the bar are not the only thing that irks the head of the State Commission for the Lithuanian Language, Audrys Antanaitis. The liberal mayor of Vilnius, Remigijus Šimašius, should also be punished for his disgraceful election campaign, he urges in Delfi:

“The mayor of Vilnius knew that society would be divided. ... It was clear from the start that the sand on Lukiškių Square would offend a large part of the Lithuanian population. Šimašius knew this, nevertheless he decided to sacrifice social harmony to boost his popularity. This is not the first time he has acted this way. The removal of a plaque commemorating Jonas Noreika was the first signal that the mayor of Vilnius is willing to trample on the citizens' feelings.”

Lrt (LT) /

Dangerous for democracy

The president should not sign this repressive and anti-democratic law, LRT demands:

“Gitanas Nausėda is facing a difficult test. A test of freedom. ... In short, this law has only four articles. But its content and the way it has come about pose a serious threat to our democracy, our freedom and our rights. Should it come into force, it means that in Lithuania the state can act repressively against those who think differently, dispute something, or perhaps are just mistaken. A law that enforces a certain will can also be repressive. And this is precisely the case with this legislation about the status of monument.”