- February 6, 2013
Protest against Polish signs
A piquet took place in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Demonstrators protested against the new government’s plans to allow bilingual signs of street names and places, and to keep the original spelling of names in official documents.
There were about 10 demonstrators. Most of them were elderly people. They brought a national flag and posters with slogans, for instance, “Street names written only in national language”, “Minister, when you negotiate with Poland, be faithful to the constitution and an oath you swore to”, “Dramatic situation of Lithuanian minority in Poland – a matter of utmost importance to the government.”
The Union of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters (Lietuvos laisvės kovotojų sąjunga (LLKS) organized the piquet. Jonas Burokas, the president of the Union, said to ELTA agency that it was necessary to cooperate with Poland on the economic plane. Burokas is also concerned that the government still hasn’t taken a clear stand on bilingual signs or the way of spelling names. According to his opinion, the Lithuanian Constitutional Court has already stated that the places’ names must be written only in Lithuanian.
“In my opinion, if we give in the street names, the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania using human ignorance will slowly push the Lithuanians out of this area,” Burokas shared his concerns.
Darius Skusevičius, an adviser to the minister, met with the demonstrators but his words did not ease their minds. “They told us that the minister will not make any concession on this matter without changes in law. However, it was not denied that the Act on the state language might be amended in due time. (…) The Ministry’s representatives didn’t ease our minds because we still don’t know whether the law will be changed or not,” said Burokas.
Today, the Lithuanian nationalists sent a letter to the Parliament, the President and the Government of Lithuania in which they demand that the Lithuanian language was not a subject of dispute between Vilnius and Warsaw.
Tłumaczenie Patrycja Olszówka w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Patrycja Olszówka the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.