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Baltic Way vintage car rally celebrates 1989 human chain for independence

Baltic Way vintage car rally celebrates 1989 human chain for independence
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By Richard Good
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Vintage cars set out across Baltic states to mark the 30th anniversary of a human chain of over one million people seeking freedom from the USSR.

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Hundreds of vintage cars set out across the Baltic states on Sunday to mark the 30th anniversary of a human chain of more than a million people demanding independence from the Soviet Union.

"This is a historic event not only in the sense of the Baltic Way and its 30th anniversary," says the organiser Egidijus Einoris. “But because we united enthusiasts from vintage car clubs in three countries."

Decorated with Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian national flags, some 200 cars set off from the central square in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.

Concerts are scheduled en routebefore the convoy reaches the Estonian capital Tallinn on Tuesday.

"We no longer have leaded petrol we used to fill the Ladas of the time, the 93,” says the speaker of the Lithuanian parliament Viktoras Pranckietis. “We have Euro-petrol. We have freedom. We have democracy. We are members of the European Union, we are members of NATO. We are what we hoped to become, this was our dream."

In 1989, a human chain known as the Baltic Way linked Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn, marking the 50th anniversary of the Nazi-Soviet pact which led to the Soviet occupation of the Baltics.

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