The damage of the Ogiński multimedia bench, a gift for Vilnius from the Polish Embassy, is an act of vandalism, says a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MSZ) in Lithuania. Meanwhile, the police claim that they have not been notified of the incident yet, and, when checking on the bench, did not see any breakages. The Local Government of the Vilnius City has announced replacement of the damaged elements.
“It’s a regrettable act of vandalism, which should be treated as such and unequivocally condemned. As far as we know, the police have been informed about the incident, and so we hope that the perpetrators will be found during the investigation,” said Kęstutis Vaškelevičius, the spokesman of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, when interviewed by the Znad Wilii radio.
Znad Wilii addressed the Vilnius County Police Headquarters, asking how the investigation into establishing the fact of the Ogiński bench damage and determining the perpetrator was proceeding.
“We would like to inform that, before the information obtained from you, the Chief of the Vilnius County Police Headquarters had not owned any data that the mentioned bench had been damaged. Having reveived your letter and verified the information, it was established that there were not any signs of damage,” the police wrote in response.
Meanwhile, on the Ogiński bench installed in January, all the symbols identifying the Polish donor have been painted out – the country’s emblem, Embassy’s logo, national colours – which can be clearly seen on photographs.
The Director of the City Economy Department, in turn, points out that the breakages do not concern the bench itself but the tablets fixed on it.
“The orders have been already issued, saying that the tablets, on which the inscription “Polska” [Poland] and symbols of the Polish state have been blurred with a sharp object, are to be removed and replaced with new ones. For some time there won’t be any tablets on the bench, until the new ones have been produced,” announces Pauža.
“We treat this fact not only as property damage but, above all, as a xenophobic act directed at the image of the neigbouring, befriended state and the diplomatic institution representing it, and therefore, at the well-being of the Polish-Lithuanian relations,” such an announcement was written yesterday by the Polish Embassy in Vilnius.
Tłumaczenie by Karolina Katarzyńska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Karolina Katarzyńska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.